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THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN 

VOLUME  IX 


E 
e 

THE   WRITINGS 


BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN 

COLLECTED  AND   EDITED 
WITH   A  LIFE  AND   INTRODUCTION 

BY 

ALBERT    HENRY   SMYTH 


VOLUME   IX 
1783-1788 


THE  MACMILLAN   COMPANY 

LONDON:  MACMILLAN  &  CO.,  LTD. 

1906 
All  rights  rtstrotd 


l-l 


COPYRIGHT,  1906, 
BY  THE  MACMILLAN  COMPANY. 


Set  up  and  electrotyped.     Published  October,  1906. 


1  \ 


Nortoooti 

J.  8.  Cashing  &  Co.  —  Berwick  &  Smith  Co. 
Norwood,  Mass.,  U.S.A. 


CONTENTS 


VOLUME   IX 

NO.  PACE 

1384.  To  Gaetano  Filangieri.     January  11,  1783  I 

1385.  To  Richard  Oswald.     January  14,  1783      ....  3 

1386.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     January  1 8,  1783       ...  8 

1387.  To  John  Adams.     January  19,  1783 8 

1388.  To  Robert  R.  Livingston.     January  21,  1783     ...  9 

1389.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     January  25,  1783       .         .         .10 

1390.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     January  27,  1783         .         .         .11 

1391.  To  John  Sargent.     January  27,  1783          ....  13 

1392.  To  Charles  W.  F.  Dumas.     February  17,  1783  .         .  15 

1393.  To  John  Coakley  Lettsom.     March  6,  1783        ...  15 

1394.  To  Robert  Morris.     March  7,  1783 17 

1395.  To  Robert  R.  Livingston.     March  7,  1783          .         .         .18 

1396.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     March  9,  1783  .         .         .         .18 

1397.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     March  16,  1783         .         .         .19 

1398.  To  the  Earl  of  Buchan.     March  17,  1783  ....  20 

1399.  To  Jonathan  Shipley.     March  17,  1783      ....  22 

1400.  To  Sir  William  Jones.     March  17,  1783     ....  24 

1401.  To  John  Dickinson.     March  23,  1783         ....  25 

1402.  To  David  Hartley.     March  23,  1783 26 

1403.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     March  24,  1783         ...  27 

1404.  To  Emmanuel  de  Rohan.     April  6,  1783    ....  28 

1405.  To  M.  Rosencrone.     April  15,  1783  .....  29 

1406.  To  Robert  R.  Livingston.     April  15,  1783         ...  30 

1407.  Introduction  of  Professor  Marter.     April  22,  1783      .         .  35 

1408.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     April  26,  1783     ....  36 

1409.  To  Robert  R.  Livingston.     April  27,  1783          ...  37 

1410.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     May  4,  1783     ....  37 

1411.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     May  5,  1783     ....  38 

1412.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     May  5,  1783     ....  39 

1413.  To  David  Hartley.     May  8,  1783 40 

1414.  To  Jan  Ingenhousz.     May  16,  1783 41 


vi  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

14°!  5.  Recommendation  of  a  Galley  Slave.    May  22,  1783   •        •      46 

1416.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     May  23,  1783    .        ...      47 

1417.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     June  3,  1783     •  •        •      47 

1418.  To  Philippe-Denis  Pierres.    June  10,  1783  .               47 

1419.  To  Robert  R.  Livingston.    June  12,  1783          ...      49 

1420.  To  Prince  des  Deuxponts.     June  14,  1783  .         .       5° 

1421.  On  the  Shock  by  the  Electric  Bottle,  and  the  Density  of 

Glass.     June  14,  1783 52 

1422.  To  Baron  de  Steel.    June  16,  1783 53 

1423.  To  Captain  Nathaniel  Falconer.     June  1 8,  1783         .         .       54 

1424.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.    July  4>  1783  57 

1425.  To  Henry  Laurens.     July  6,  1783      .  .         .       58 

1426.  To  Robert  R.  Livingston.     July  22,  1783  .  .       59 

1427.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     July  24,  1783    ....       73 

1428.  To  Sir  Joseph  Banks.     July  27,  1783  73 

1429.  Note  by  Benjamin  Franklin  upon  a  letter  addressed  to  him 

by  Thomas  Barclay,  July  28,  1783 75 

1430.  To  Captain  Nathaniel  Falconer.     July  28,  1783  .         .       77 

1431.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     August  1 6,  1783        ...       78 

1432.  To  Henry  Laurens.     August  21,  1783        .        „         .         .       78 

1433.  To  Sir  Joseph  Banks.     August  30,  1783     ....       79 

1434.  To  Elias  Boudinot.     August  31,  1783         ....       86 

1435.  To  Charles  J.  Fox.     September  5,  1783     .         .         .         .86 

1436.  To  David  Hartley.     September  6,  1783      ....       87 

1437.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     September  7,  1783      ...       89 

1438.  To  John  Jay.     September  10,  1783 91 

1439.  To  Josiah  Quincy.     September  n,  1783  93 

1440.  To  Elias  Boudinot.     September  13,  1783  ....       96 

1441.  To  Richard  Price.     September  1 6,  1783     ....       99 

1442.  To  Elias  Boudinot.     September  27,  1783  .         .         .         .     101 

1443.  From  Maximilien-Marie-Isidore  Robespierre  to  Benjamin 

Franklin.     October  i,  1783 101 

1444.  To  Sir  Edward  Newenham.     October  2,  1783    .         .         .102 

1445.  To  Thomas  Brand  Hollis.     October  5,  1783       .         .         .     103 

1446.  To  Sir  Joseph  Banks.     October  8,  1783     .         .         .         .105 
1447-  To  David  Hartley.     October  1 6,  1783        .         .         .         .     107 

1448.  To  Edward  Nairne.     October  1 8,  1783       .         .         .         .108 

1449.  To  David  Hartley.     October  22,  1783         .         .         .         .109 

1450.  To  Elias  Boudinot.     November  i,  1783     .         .         .         .     110 

1451.  To  Sir  Joseph  Banks.     November  21,  1783        .         .         .113 


CONTENTS  vii 

HO.  PACK 

1452.  To  Sir  Joseph  Banks.     December  i,  1783          .        .        .119 

1453.  To  Henry  Laurens.     December  6,  1783     .        .         .         .122 

1454.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     December  6,  1783     .         .         .     124 

1455.  To  William  Hodgson.     December  10,  1783        .         .         .     124 

1456.  To  Sir  Joseph  Banks.     December  15,  1783        .         .         .     125 

1457.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     December  15,  1783  .         .         -125 

1458.  To  William  Carmichael.     December  15,  1783     .         .         .     126 

1459.  To  Giacomo  Francesco  Crocco.     December  15,  1783          .     128 

1460.  To  Thomas  Mifflin.     December  25,  1783  .         .         .         .129 

1461.  To  Robert  Morris.     December  25,  1783     .         .         .         .135 

1462.  To  Ebenezer  Hazard.     December  26,  1783         .         .         .     140 

1463.  To  Thomas  Mifflin.     December  26,  1783  ....     140 

1464.  To  Thomas  Mifflin.     December  26,  1783  ....     143 

1465.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     December  26,  1783     .         .         .143 

1466.  To  Samuel  Cooper.     December  26,  1783  .         .         .         .144 

1467.  To  Elias  Boudinot.     December  26,  1 783    .         .         .         .146 

1468.  To  Michel-Guillaume-Jean  de  Crevecoeur.     1783        .         .     147 

1469.  On  Immigration.    (To  an  Unknown  Correspondent.)    1783     149 

1470.  To  John  Jay.     January  6,  1784 150 

1471.  To  Samuel  Chase.     January  6,  1784 152 

1472.  To  David  Hartley.     January  7,  1784  .         .         .         .154 

1473.  To  Jan  Ingenhousz.     January  1 6,  1784      .         .         .         .     155 

1474.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     January  17,  1784      .         .         .     157 

1475.  To  Mrs.  Georgiana  Hare-Naylor.     January  25,  1784  .         .     159 

1476.  To  Mrs.  Sarah  Bache.     January  26,  1784  .        .         .         .     161 

1477.  To  Charles  W.  F.  Dumas.     February  i,  1784    .         .         .     168 

1478.  To  Henry  Laurens.     February  12,  1784     ....     169 

1479.  To  William  Strahan.     February  1 6,  1784  .         .         .         -171 

1480.  To  Jean  Baptiste  Le  Roy.     February  25,  1784  .         .         .173 

1481.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     February  26,  1784     .         .         .     173 

1482.  To  John  Paul  Jones.     March  4,  1784         ....     174 

1483.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     March  5,  1784     ....     174 

1484.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     March  5,  1784.         .         .         .     176 

1485.  To  Charles  Thomson.     March  9,  1784       .         .         .         .176 

1486.  To  Henry  Laurens.     March  12,  1784          ....     178 

1487.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     March  19,  1784  .         .         .         .181 

1488.  To  La  Sabliere  de  la  Condamine.     March  19,  1784    .         .     181 

1489.  To  M.  Mazue.     March  19,  1784 183 

1490.  An  Economical  Project.     March  20,  1784  .         .        .         .183 

1491.  To  John  Paul  Jones.     March  25,  1784       ....     189 


VIII 


NO. 


CONTENTS 


1492.  To  John  Adams.     March  31,  1784     .....     19° 

1493.  To  Charles  Thomson.     March  31,  1784     .         .         .         .190 

1494.  To  Madame  Brillon.     March  31,  1784        .         .         .         .191 

1495.  To  Charles  Thomson.     April  16,  1784       .         .         .         .191 

1496.  To  John  Walter.     April  17,  1784 193 

1497.  To  David  Hartley.     April  17,  1784    .         .        .         .         .196 

1498.  To  Benjamin  Webb.     April  22,  1784          .         .         .         .     197 

1499.  To  Henry  Laurens.     April  29,  1784 198 

1500.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     April  29,  1784    .         .         .         .     199 

1501.  A  Letter  from  China.     May  5,  1784 200 

1502.  To  Samuel  Mather.     May  12,  1784 208 

1503.  To  Thomas  Mifflin.     May  12,  1784 210 

1504.  To  Henry  Laurens.     May  13,  1784 211 

1505.  To  Charles  Thomson.     May  13,  1784        .         .         .         .212 

1506.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Jay.     May  13,  1784        ....     214 

1507.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     May  31,  1784    ....     215 

1508.  Meteorological  Imaginations  and  Conjectures.     May,  1784     215 

1509.  To  David  Hartley.     June  2,  1784 219 

1510.  To  Conde  de  Campomanes.     June  5,  1784         .         .         .     221 

1511.  To  Charles  Thomson.    June  14,  1784        ....     224 

1512.  To  Thomas  Mifflin.     June  1 6,  1784 225 

1513.  Loose  Thoughts  on  a  Universal  Fluid.     June  25,  1784       .     227 

1514.  Of  the  Paper  Money  of  the  United  States  of  America. 

July  3,  1784 231 

1515.  To  Thomas  Percival.     July  17,  1784          .         .         .         .     236 

1516.  To  Mason  Weems  and  Edward  Gant.     July  18,  1784         .     238 

1517.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     July  26,  1784      ....     240 

1518.  To  Comte  de  Mercy  Argenteau.     July  30,  1784          .         .     248 

1519.  To  Messrs.  Sears  and  Smith.     August  4,  1784  .         .         .249 

1520.  To  John  Adams.     August  6,  1784 250 

1521.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     August  15,  1784          .         .         .251 

1522.  To  William  Franklin.     August  16,  1784     .         .         .         .252 

1523.  To  Richard  Price.     August  1 6,  1784 254 

1524.  To  Benjamin  West.     August  17,  1784        .         .         .         .257 

1525.  To  Lord  Howe.    August  18,  1784 258 

1526.  To  William  Strahan.     August  19,  1784      .         .         .         .259 

1527.  To  George  Whatley.     August  21,  1784      .         .         .         .264 

1528.  To  Joseph  Priestley.     August  21,  1784      .         .         .         .266 

1529.  To  William  Temple  Franklin.     August  25,  1784        .         .     268 

1530.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     September  3,  1784   ...     269 


CONTENTS  ix. 

NO.  PACK 

1531.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     September  7,  1784      .         .        .     269 

1532.  To  William  Temple  Franklin.     September  8,  1784    .         .     270 

1533.  To  an  Unknown  Correspondent.     September  12,  1784       .     272 

1534.  To  William  Temple  Franklin.     September  13,  1784  .         .     272 

1535.  To  William  Temple  Franklin.     October  2,  1784         .         .     274 

1536.  To  William  Carmichael.     October  u,  1784        .         .         .     274 

1537.  To  Charles  Thomson.     October  16,  1784  ....     276 

1538.  To  William  Temple  Franklin.     October  18,  1784       .         .     277 

1539.  To  Charles  Thomson.     November  n,  1784        .         .         .     278 

1540.  To  Richard  Bache.     November  u,  1784   .         .         .         .278 

1541.  To  Messrs.  Wital  and  Pauche.     November  15,  1784          .     279 

1542.  To  Dr.  Brav.     November  22,  1784 280 

1543.  To  Thomas  Jefferson.     November  23,  1784       .         .         .281 

1544.  To ?     1784 282 

1545.  To  Samuel  Jackson  Pratt.     1784 283 

1546.  To  David  Hartley.     January  3,  1785  ....     284 

1547.  To  Richard  Price.     February  I,  1785          .         .         .         .286 

1548.  To  John  Jay.     February  8,  1785 287 

1549.  To  Richard  Henry  Lee.     February  8,  1785         .         .         .     289 

1550.  To  Comte  de  Windisch-Gratz.     February  22,  1785     .         .     290 

1551.  To  William  Strahan.     March  5,  1785          .         .         .         .290 

1552.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     [On  the  Criminal  Laws  and  the 

Practice  of  Privateering.]     March  14,  1785     .         .         .     291 

1553.  To  Richard  Price.     March  18,  1785 300 

1554.  To  William  Carmichael.     March  22,  1785  .         .         .         .     301 

1555.  To  Richard  Henry  Lee.     April  12,  1785     .         .         .         .302 

1556.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     April  13,  1785      ....     303 

1557.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     April  21,  1785     ....     304 

1558.  To  Antoine-Alexis-Francois  Cadet  de  Vaux.    April  28,  1785     307 

1559.  To  Jan  Ingenhousz.     April  29,  1785 307 

1560.  To  Comte  de  Vergennes.     May  3,  1785      ....     321 

1561.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     May  5,  1785        .         .         .         .322 

1562.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     May  5,  1785         ....     324 

1563.  To  John  Jay.     May  10,  1785 325 

1564.  To  Charles  Thomson.     May  10,  1785         .         .         .         .326 

1565.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Richard  Bache.     May  10,  1785       .         .     327 

1566.  To  Marshal  de  Castries.     May  1 6,  1785   .         .         .         .328 

1567.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     May  19,  1785       ....     329 

1568.  To  Caleb  Whitefoord.     May  19,  1785        .         .         .         .     330 

1569.  To  George  Whatley.     May  19,  1785 331 


CONTENTS 


1570.  To  George  Whatley.     May  23,  1785 33* 

1571.  To  Christopher  Wyvill.     June  1 6,  1785                                •  339 

1572.  On  the  Elective  Franchises  enjoyed  by  the  Small  Boroughs 

in  England.    June  16,  1785 34o 

1573.  To  Thomas  Barclay.    June  19,  1785  .         •         •         -343 

1574.  To .    June  20,  1785 345 

1575.  To  Jean-Jacques  Caffieri.     June  20,  1785    .         .         .         •  346 

1576.  To  Francis  Maseres.     June  26,  1785          ....  347 

1577.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.    June  26,  1785      .         .         .         •  351 

1578.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     July  4,  1785        •         •         •         •  352 

1579.  To  Edward  Bridgen.     July  4,  1785 353 

1580.  To  Claudius  Crigan.     July  5,  1785 353 

1581.  To  Granville  Sharp.     July  5,  1785 357 

1582.  To  David  Hartley.     July  5,  1785 359 

1583.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     July  5,  1785         .         .         .         .36° 

1584.  To  Comte  de  Salmes.     July  5,  1785 36° 

1585.  To  John  Paul  Jones.    July  9,  1785 362 

1586.  To  Charles-Joseph  Mathon  de  la  Cour.     July  9,  1785         .  362 

1587.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     July  13,  1785         .         .         .         .  363 

1588.  To  Madame  Helvdtius.     July  19,  1785       .         .         .         .  364 

1589.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.    July  24,  1785                .         .         .  365 

1590.  To  Ruellan  &  Co.     July  25,  1785 366 

1591.  To  Jean  Holker.     July  25,  1785 367 

1592.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     July  25,  1785          .         .         .         .368 

1593.  To  Andre*  Limozin.     July  25,  1785 370 

1594.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     July  26,  1785       ....  370 

1595.  To  J.  Coakley  Lettsom.     July  26,  1785      .         .         .         .371 

1596.  To  Madame  Helve'tius.     July  27,  1785                .         .         .  372 

1597.  To  David  Le  Roy  [Maritime  Observations] .     August,  1785  372 

1598.  To  Jan  Ingenhousz  [On  the  Causes  and  Cure  of  Smoky 

Chimneys].     August  28,  1785         .....  413 

1599.  Description  of  a  new  Stove  for  burning  of  Pitcoal,  and 

consuming  all  its  Smoke.     August,  1785         .         .         .  443 

1600.  To  John  Jay.     September  19,  1785 463 

1601.  To  George  Washington.     September  20,  1785  .         .         .  464 

1602.  To  Governor  William  Greene  and  Mrs.  Greene.     Septem- 

ber 20,  1785 465 

1603.  To  John  Jay  and  Mrs.  Jay.     September  21,  1785       .         .  466 

1604.  To  Thomas  Paine.     September  27,  1785    .         .         .         .467 

1605.  To  Francis  Childs.     October  I,  1785          .         .         .         .468 


CONTENTS  xi 

NO.  PACK 

1606.  To  Donatien  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont.     October  20,  1785       .  469 

1607.  To  Madame  Helve'tius.     October  20,  1 785          .         .         .  470 

1608.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     October  20,  1785    ....  471 

1609.  To  David  Hartley.     October  27,  1785        ....  472 

1610.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     October  30,  1785        .         .         .  473 

1611.  To  Samuel  Elbert.     November  5,  1785       ....  474 

1612.  To  Messrs.  Sears  and  Smith.     November  14,  1785     .         .  475 

1613.  To  John  Bard  and  Mrs.  Bard.     November  14,  1785  .         .  476 

1614.  To  Charles-Joseph  Mathon  dela  Cour.     November  18,  1785  476 

1615.  To  George  Clinton.     January  I,  1786         ....  477 

1616.  To  James  Bowdoin.     January  I,  1786         ....  478 

1617.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     January  19,  1786          .         .         .  480 

1618.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     January  27,  1786          .         .         .  481 

1619.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     January  29,  1786  ....  482 

1620.  Description  of  an  Instrument  for  taking  down  Books  from 

high  Shelves.     January,  1786          .....  483 

1621.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     February  12,  1786        .         .         .  486 

1622.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     February  16,  1786        .         .         .  487 

1623.  To  Jonathan  Shipley.     February  24,  1786  .         .         .488 

1624.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     March  5,  1786        ....  492 

1625.  To  Benjamin  Rush.     March  n  (?),  1786  ....  494 

1626.  To  M.  Le  Veillard.     March  16,  1786          ....  495 

1627.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     March  20,  1786      ....  497 

1628.  To  Thomas  Jefferson.     March  20,  1786     ....  499 

1629.  To  Daniel  Roberdeau.     March  23,  1786     ....  500 

1630.  To  Jean-Baptiste  Le  Roy.     March  27,  1786       .         .         .  501 

1631.  To  Abbe*  de  la  Roche.     April,  1786 502 

1632.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     April  8,  1786         .         .         .         .506 

1633.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     April  25,  1786       ....  508 

1634.  To  Andrew  Strahan.     May  6,  1786 509 

1635.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     May  6,  1786        ....  510 

1636.  To  Mrs.  Mary  Hewson.     May  30,  1786      ....  513 

1637.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     June  3,  1786          .         .         .         .514 

1638.  To  John    Franklin,   William    Hooker    Smith,  and   John 

Jenkins,  in  Council.     June  u,  1786        .         .         .  515 

1639.  To  Charles  Thomson.     June  18,  1786        .         .         .         -517 

1640.  To  Noah  Webster.     June  1 8,  1786 518 

1641.  To  Jan  Ingenhousz.     June  27,  1786 519 

1642.  To .     July  3,  1786  (?) 520 

1643.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.    July  4,  1786 522 


xii  CONTENTS 


PAGE 


1644.  To  Charles  Thomson.     July  6,  1786 523 

1645.  To  John  Jay.     July  6,  1786 525 

1646.  To  Dr.  Arthaud.     July  9,  1786 526 

1647.  To  Noah  Webster.     July  9,  1786 527 

1648.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     July  n,  1786         .        .         •         -     527 

1649.  To  Joseph  Priestley.     July  29,  1786 528 

1650.  To  Richard  Price.     July  29,  1786 529 

1651.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     July  31,  1786      .        .         .         -53° 

1652.  To  Mathew  Carey.     August  10,  1786         .         .         .         .     533 

1653.  To  William  Cocke.     August  12,  1786         .         .         .         -534 

1654.  To  Jean-Baptiste  Le  Roy.     August  15,  1786      .         .         .     535 

1655.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     August  15,  1786     ....     536 

1656.  To  John  Jay.     August  24,  1786  .     537 

1657.  On  Thermometers.     September  13,  1786   .         .         .         .     538 

1658.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     September  21,  1786       .         .         .     539 

1659.  To  Mile.  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont.     October  7,  1786      .         .     541 

1660.  To  Donatien  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont.     October  7,  1786        .     542 

1661.  To  Charles  Pettit.     October  10,  1786         .         .         .         -543 

1662.  To  Charles  Biddle.     November  2,  1786     .         .         .         .     545 

1663.  To  Abb£  de  la  Roche.     November  20,  1786  .         .     546 

1664.  To  William  Hunter.     November  24,  1786  .         .         .         .     547 

1665.  To  Thomas  Wight,  Jr.     November  25,  1786      .         .         .     549 

1666.  To .     November  25,  1786 549 

1667.  To  Edward  Bancroft.     November  26,  1786         .         .         .     550 

1668.  To  Captain  Thomas  de  Ugarta  Y  Lianes.     December  16, 

1786 551 

1669.  To  Captain  Nathaniel  Falconer.     December  16,  1786         .     552 

1670.  To  Charles  Thomson.     January  25,  1787  ....     553 

1671.  To  Alexander  Small.     February  19,  1787  .         .         .         .     555 

1672.  To  Nevil  Maskelyne.     March  29,  1787       .         .         .         -557 

1673.  To  M.  le  Veillard.    April  15,  1787 558 

1674.  To  the  Due  de  la  Rochefoucauld.     April  15,  1787      .         -563 

1675.  TO  Comte  d'Estaing.     April  15,  1787         .         .         .         .566 

1676.  To  the  Marquis  de  Chastellux.     April  17,  1787  .         .         .     567 

1677.  To  Messrs,  the  Abbe's  Chalut  and  Arnaud.     April  17,  1787      569 

1678.  To  the  Marquis  de  Lafayette.     April  17,  1787    .         .         .     569 

1679.  To  Jean-Baptiste  Le  Roy.     April  1 8,  1787         .         .         .572 

1680.  To  Thomas  Jefferson.     April  19,  1787        .         .         .         -573 

1681.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     April  22,  1787        .         .         .         -575 

1682.  To  Abb£  Morellet.     April  22,  1787 577 


CONTENTS  xiii 

NO.  PAGE 

1683.  To  Francis  Childs.     May  8,  1787      !.                 ...  580 

1684.  To  Thomas  Jordan.     May  1 8,  1787 582 

1685.  To  William  Herschell.     May  1 8,  1787        .         .         .         .  584 

1686.  To  John  Adams.     May  18,  1787 585 

1687.  To  Richard  Price.     May  1 8,  1787 585 

1688.  To  George  Whatley.     May  1 8,  1787 587 

1689.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     May  30,  1787        ....  589 

1690.  Speech  in  the  Convention;   On  the  Subject  of  Salaries. 

June  2,  1787  .         .                                                             .  590 

1691.  Speech  in  a  Committee  of  the  Convention;    On  the  Pro- 

portion of  Representation  and  Votes.     June  n,  1787      .  595 

1692.  Motion  for  Prayers  in  the  Convention.     June  28,  1787        .  600 

1693.  Proposal  for  Consideration  in  the  Convention  for  forming 

the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.     June  30,  1787     .  602 

1694.  To  John  Paul  Jones.     July  22,  1787 604 

1695.  To  Caleb  Whitefoord.     July  27,  1787         ....  605 

1696.  To  S.  Osgood  and  A.  Lee.     August  31,  1787     .         .         .606 

1697.  Speech  in  the  Convention,  at  the  Conclusion  of  its  Delib- 

erations.    September  17,  1787 607 

1698.  To   Arthur   St.  Clair  and  other  Delegates   in  Congress. 

September  20,  1787 609 

1699.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     September  20,  1787       .         .         .612 

1700.  To  Alexander  Small.     September  28,  1787         .         .         .  614 

1701.  To  Professor  Landriani.     October  14,  1787        .         .         .617 

1702.  To  Gaetano  Filangieri.     October  14,  1787          .         .         .  618 

1703.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     October  22,  1787   ....  619 

1704.  To  Donatien  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont.     October  22,  1787      .  620 

1705.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     November  4,  1787         .         .         .  620 

1706.  To  Comte  de  Buffon.     November  19,  1787         .         .         .  622 

1707.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     December  n,  1787        .         .         .623 

1708.  To .     December  15,  1787 624 

1709.  To  Samuel  Elbert.     December  16,  1787     .         .         .         .625 

1710.  To  the  Printer  of  the  Evening  Herald.     1787  (?)       .         .  627 

1711.  On  sending  Felons  to  America.     1787  (?)          .         .         .  628 

1712.  To  John  Ross.     January  21,  1788 630 

I7I3«   To  Samuel  Osgood  and  Walter  Livingston.  January  31, 1788  631 

1714.  To  Count  de  Moustiers.     February  10,  1788                .         .  632 

1715.  To  Jan  Ingenhousz.     February  u,  1788     .         .         .         .633 

1716.  To  Michel-Guillaume-Jean  de  Crevecoeur.     February  16, 

1788 636 


xiv  CONTENTS 

PAGB 

1717.  To  M.  Le  Veillard.    February  17,  1788     ....     636 

1718.  To  the  Editors  of  the  Pennsylvania  Gazette.      [On  the 

Abuse  of  the  Press.]     March  30,  1788    ....     639 

1719.  To  Mrs.  Collas.     April  12,  1788 642 

1720.  To  Madame  Brillon.     April  19,  1788          ....     643 

1721.  To  M.  Le  Veillard.     April  22,  1788 645 

1722.  To  Madame  Helv^tius.     April  23,  1788      ....     646 

1723.  To  Joseph-Ignace  Guillotin.  j  May  4,  1788         .         .         .648 

1724.  To  the  Princess  Dashkow.     May  7,1788.         .         .         .     649 

1725.  To  Rev.  John  Lathrop.     May  31,  1788      .         .         .         .649 

1726.  To  James  Bowdoin.     May  31,  1788 652 

1727.  To  Mather  Byles.     June  i,  1788 655 

1728.  To  M.  Le  Veillard.     June  8,  1788 657 

1729.  To  Dupont  de  Nemours.     June  9,  1788      .         .         .         .658 

1730.  To  Mathew  Carey.     June  10,  1788 660 

1731.  To  John  Jay.     June  27,  1788 662 

1732.  To  George  Clinton.     July  10,  1788 663 

1733.  To  Benjamin  Chambers,  and  the  other  Gentlemen  of  Cham- 

bersburgh.     September  20,  1788 664 

1734.  To  the  Due  de  la  Rochefoucauld.     October  22,  1788          .     665 

1735.  To  Miss  Flainville.     October  23,  1788        .         .         .         .667 

1736.  To  Madame  Lavoisier.     October  23,  1788          .        .         .     667 

1737.  To  Joseph-Ignace  Guillotin.     October  23,  1788          .         .     669 

1738.  To  Jan  Ingenhousz.     October  24,  1788      ....     670 

1739.  To  Dupont  de  Nemours.     October  24,  1788       .         .         .671 

1740.  To  M.  Le  Veillard.     October  24,  1788  .         .         .     673 

1741.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     October  24,  1788         .         .         .     675 

1742.  To  Ferdinand  Grand.     October  24,  1788  ....     677 

1743.  To  Madame  Helve'tius.     October  25,  1788          .         .         .     678 

1744.  To  Jean-Baptiste  Le  Roy.     October  25,  1788     .         .         .     679 

1745.  To  Don  Diego  Gardoqui.     October  26,  1788      .         .         .     679 

1746.  To  Joseph  Elam.     November  10,  1788       .         .         .         .680 

1747.  To  the  Due  de  la  Rochefoucauld.     November  13,  1788       .    68 1 

1748.  To  Francis  Childs.     November  19,  1788    .         .         .         .     682 

1749.  To  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Partridge.     November  25,  1788     .         .     682 

1750.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     November  26,  1788       .         .         .     684 
1751-  To  Cyrus  Griffin.     November  29,  1788       .         .         .         .686 
1752.  To  William  Vaughan.     December  9,  1788          .         .         .     688 
1753-  To  Abbe'  Morellet.     December  10,  1788     ....     690 
1754.  To  Charles  Thomson.    December  29,  1788        .        .        .691 


CONTENTS 


1755.  To  the  Editor  of  the  Federal  Gazette :  A  Comparison  of  the 
Conduct  of  the  Ancient  Jews  and  of  the  Anti-Federalists 
in  the  United  States  of  America.  1788.  .  .  .698 


TABLE   OF   ABBREVIATIONS 

A.  P.  S American  Philosophical  Society. 

B.  M British  Museum. 

B.  N Bibliotheque  Nationale. 

D.  S.  W.      . Department  of  State,  Washington. 

H Harvard  University. 

L.  C Library  of  Congress. 

L.  L Lenox  Library. 

Lans Lansdowne  House. 

M.  H.  S Massachusetts  Historical  Society. 

P.  C Private  Collection. 

P.  H.  S Pennsylvania  Historical  Society. 

P.  R.  O Public  Record  Office. 

P.  R.  O.  A.  W.  I Public  Record  Office  :  America  and 

West  Indies. 
P.  A.  E.  E.  U Paris    Departement    des    Affaires 

Etrangeres,  —  Etats-Unis. 

U.  of  P University  of  Pennsylvania. 

Y Yale  University. 

B Bigelow. 

F Benjamin  Franklin. 

S Sparks. 

V Benjamin  Vaughan. 

W.  T.  F W.  T.  Franklin. 

Franklin's  Mss.  exist  in  several  forms.  He  made  a  rough  draft  of 
every  letter  that  he  wrote  ;  he  then  made  a  clean  copy  to  send  away,  and 
often  retained  a  letter-press  copy.  To  indicate  the  state  of  the  docu- 
ment, the  following  abbreviations  are  used:  d.  =  draft,  trans.  =  transcript, 
1.  p.  =  letter-press  copy. 


1384.    TO    GAETANO    FILANGIERI l      (p.  c.) 

Passy,  January  11,  1783 

The  letter  you  did  me  the  honour  of  writing  to  me  in  August 
last  came  to  my  hands  when  I  lay  ill  of  two  painful  disorders, 
which  confined  me  near  three  months,  and  with  the  mul- 
tiplicity of  business  that  followed  obliged  me  to  postpone 
much  of  my  correspondence.  I  have  yesterday  received  a 
second  letter  from  you,  and  I  now,  without  further  delay,  sit 
down  to  answer  them  both. 

The  two  first  volumes  of  your  excellent  work,  which  were 
put  into  my  hands  by  M.  Pio,2 1  perused  with  great  pleasure. 
They  are  also  much  esteemed  by  some  very  judicious  persons 
to  whom  I  have  lent  them.  I  should  have  been  glad  of  another 
copy  for  one  of  those  friends,  who  is  very  desirous  of  pro- 
curing it;  but  I  suppose  those  you  mention  to  have  sent  to 
M.  Pio  did  not  arrive.  I  was  glad  to  learn  that  you  were 
proceeding  to  consider  the  criminal  laws,  None  have  more 
need  of  reformation.  They  are  everywhere  in  so  great  dis- 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin  "  (1817),  Vol.  I, 

p.  121. 

Gaetano  Filangieri  (1752-1788),  an  eminent  Italian  publicist.  The 
"  excellent  work  "  referred  to  above  was  "  Scienza  della  Legislazione."  The 
first  two  volumes  were  published  in  Naples  in  1 780.  They  made  a  great  sen- 
sation, and  gave  Filangieri  at  once  the  foremost  place  among  the  publicists  of 
Europe.  The  above  letter  was,  in  1873,  in  the  possession  of  Prince  de  Filan- 
gieri Satriano,  a  grandson  of  Gaetano  Filangieri.  —  ED. 

2  Charge  d' Affaires  of  the  court  of  Naples.  —  ED. 

VOL.  ix  —  B  i 


2  THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

order,  and  so  much  injustice  is  committed  in  the  execution  of 
them,  that  I  have  been  sometimes  inclined  to  imagine  less 
would  exist  in  the  world  if  there  were  no  such  laws,  and 
the  punishment  of  injuries  were  left  to  private  resentment. 
I  am  glad,  therefore,  that  you  have  not  suffered  yourself  to  be 
discouraged  by  any  objections  or  apprehensions,  and  that  we 
may  soon  expect  the  satisfaction  of  seeing  the  two  volumes 
on  that  subject  which  you  have  now  under  the  press.1 

With  regard  to  your  project  of  removing  to  America,  though 
I  am  sure  that  a  person  of  your  knowledge,  just  sentiments, 
and  useful  talents  would  be  a  valuable  acquisition  for  our 
country,  I  cannot  encourage  you  to  undertake  hastily  such  a 
voyage ;  because  for  a  man  to  expatriate  himself  is  a  serious 
business,  and  should  be  well  considered,  especially  where  the 
distance  is  so  great  and  the  expense  of  removing  thither  with 
a  family,  of  returning  if  the  country  should  not  suit  you,  will 
be  so  heavy.  I  have  no  orders  or  authority  of  any  kind  to 
encourage  strangers  with  expectations  of  employment  by  our 
government,  nor  am  I  empowered  to  be  at  any  expense  in 
transporting  them ;  though  our  country  is  open,  and  strangers 
may  establish  themselves  there,  where  they  soon  become 
citizens  and  are  respected  according  to  their  conduct.  Men 
know,  because  they  feel,  the  inconveniences  of  their  present 
situation;  but  they  do  not  know  those  that  may,  if  they 
change,  attend  the  new  one.  I  wish,  therefore,  you  could  see 
that  country  by  yourself  before  you  carry  thither  the  lady 
with  whom  you  propose  to  be  united  in  marriage.2  You  will 
then  be  able  to  form  a  good  judgment  how  far  the  removal 

1  They  were  published  in  1783.  —  ED. 

2  In  1783  Filangieri  married  Caroline  de  Frendel,  governess  of  the  infanta, 
the  second  daughter  of  the  King  of  Naples.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  RICHARD   OSWALD  3 

is  likely  to  be  advantageous,  and  may  proceed  on  surer 
grounds.  England  has  now  acknowledged  our  indepen- 
dence, and  the  sovereignty  of  our  government ;  and  several 
states  of  Europe  who  think  a  commerce  with  us  may  be 
beneficial  to  them  are  preparing  to  send  ministers  to  reside 
near  the  Congress.  It  is  possible  to  establish  a  profitable 
trade  between  the  kingdom  of  Naples  and  America.  Should 
your  court  be  of  that  opinion,  and  think  fit  to  employ  some 
one  to  visit  our  several  States  and  take  information  of  our 
productions  and  wants,  the  nature  of  our  commerce,  etc.,  etc., 
perhaps  it  could  not  find  a  fitter  person  than  yourself  for 
such  a  mission.  I  would  afford  you  all  the  assistance  in  my 
power  towards  its  due  execution,  and  by  this  means  your 
voyage  would  not  only  be  without  expense  to  you,  but  might 
afford  you  some  profit. 


1385.    TO    RICHARD    OSWALD        (LANS.) 
Passy,  January  14,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  am  much  obliged  by  your  Information  of  your  intended 
Trip  to  England.  I  heartily  wish  you  a  good  Journey  and  a 
speedy  Return,  and  request  your  kind  Care  of  a  Packet  for 
Mr.  Hodgson. 

I  inclose  two  Papers,  that  were  read  at  different  times 
by  me  to  the  Commissioners ;  they  may  serve  to  show,  if  you 
should  have  occasion,  what  was  urged  on  the  Part  of  Amer- 
ica on  certain  Points ;  or  may  help  to  refresh  your  Memory. 
I  send  you  also  another  Paper,  which  I  once  read  to  you 
separately.  It  contains  a  Proposition  for  improving  the  Law 


THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

of  Nations,  by  prohibiting  the  Plundering  of  unarmed  and 
usefully  employed  People.  I  rather  wish  than  expect,  that  it 
will  be  adopted.  But  I  think  it  may  be  offered  with  a  better 
Grace  by  a  Country,  that  is  likely  to  suffer  least  and  gain  most 
by  continuing  the  ancient  Practice;  which  is  our  Case,  as 
the  American  Ships,  laden  only  with  the  gross  Productions 
of  the  Earth,  cannot  be  so  valuable  as  yours,  filled  with  Sug- 
ars or  with  Manufactures.  It  has  not  yet  been  considered 
by  my  Colleagues,  but  if  you  should  think  or  find  that  it 
might  be  acceptable  on  your  Side,  I  would  try  to  get  it  inserted 
in  the  general  Treaty.  I  think  it  will  do  honour  to  the 
Nations  that  establish  it. 

With  great  and  sincere  Esteem,  I  am,  Sir,  your  most  obedi- 
ent and  most  humble  Servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


Propositions  relative  to  Privateering,  communicated  to  Mr. 

Oswald. 

It  is  for  the  interest  of  humanity  in  general,  that  the  oc- 
casions of  war,  and  the  inducements  to  it,  should  be  dimin- 
ished. 

If  rapine  is  abolished,  one  of  the  encouragements  to  war 
is  taken  away,  and  peace  therefore  more  likely  to  continue 
and  be  lasting. 

The  practice  of  robbing  merchants  on  the  high  seas,  a 
remnant  of  the  ancient  piracy,  though  it  may  be  accidentally 
beneficial  to  particular  persons,  is  far  from  being  profitable 
to  all  engaged  in  it,  or  to  the  nation  that  authorizes  it.  In 
the  beginning  of  a  war,  some  rich  ships,  not  upon  their  guard, 
are  surprised  and  taken.  This  encourages  the  first  adven- 


1783]  TO  RICHARD   OSWALD  5 

turers  to  fit  out  more  armed  vessels,  and  many  others  to  do  the 
same.  But  the  enemy  at  the  same  time  become  more  careful, 
arm  their  merchant  ships  better,  and  render  them  not  so  easy 
to  be  taken ;  they  go  also  more  under  protection  of  convoys ; 
thus,  while  the  privateers  to  take  them  are  multiplied,  the 
vessels  subject  to  be  taken,  and  the  chances  of  profit,  are 
diminished,  so  that  many  cruises  are  made,  wherein  the  ex- 
penses overgo  the  gains;  and,  as  is  the  case  in  other  lotter- 
ies, though  particulars  have  got  prizes,  the  mass  of  adventurers 
are  losers,  the  whole  expense  of  fitting  out  all  the  privateers, 
during  a  war,  being  much  greater  than  the  whole  amount  of 
goods  taken.  Then  there  is  the  national  loss  of  all  the  labour 
of  so  many  men  during  the  time  they  have  been  employed  in 
robbing;  who,  besides,  spend  what  they  get  in  riot,  drunken- 
ness, and  debauchery,  lose  their  habits  of  industry,  are  rarely 
fit  for  any  sober  business  after  a  peace,  and  serve  only  to  in- 
crease the  number  of  highwaymen  and  housebreakers.  Even 
the  undertakers,  who  have  been  fortunate,  are  by  sudden 
wealth  led  into  expensive  living,  the  habit  of  which  continues 
when  the  means  of  supporting  it  ceases,  and  finally  ruins 
them ;  a  just  punishment  for  their  having  wantonly  and  un- 
feelingly ruined  many  honest,  innocent  traders  and  their 
families,  whose  subsistence  was  employed  in  serving  the 
common  interests  of  mankind. 

Should  it  be  agreed  and  become  a  part  of  the  law  of  nations, 
that  the  cultivators  of  the  earth  are  not  to  be  molested  or 
interrupted  in  their  peaceable  and  useful  employment,  the  in- 
habitants of  the  sugar  islands  would  perhaps  come  under  the 
protection  of  such  a  regulation,  which  would  be  a  great  ad- 
vantage to  the  nations  who  at  present  hold  those  islands,  since 
the  cost  of  sugar  to  the  consumer  in  those  nations  consists 


6  THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

not  merely  in  the  price  he  pays  for  it  by  the  pound,  but  in  the 
accumulated  charge  of  all  the  taxes  he  pays  in  every  war,  to 
fit  out  fleets  and  maintain  troops  for  the  defence  of  the  islands 
that  raise  the  sugar,  and  the  ships  that  bring  it  home.  But 
the  expense  of  treasure  is  not  all.  A  celebrated  philosophi- 
cal writer  remarks,  that,  when  he  considered  the  wars  made 
in  Africa,  for  prisoners  to  raise  sugars  in  America,  the  num- 
bers slain  in  those  wars,  the  numbers  that,  being  crowded  in 
ships,  perish  in  the  transportation,  and  the  numbers  that  die 
under  the  severities  of  slavery,  he  could  scarce  look  on  a  mor- 
sel of  sugar  without  conceiving  it  spotted  with  human  blood. 
If  he  had  considered  also  the  blood  of  one  another,  which  the 
white  nations  shed  in  fighting  for  those  islands,  he  would  have 
imagined  his  sugar  not  as  spotted  only,  but  as  thoroughly 
dyed  red.  On  these  accounts  I  am  persuaded,  that  the  sub- 
jects of  the  Emperor  of  Germany,  and  the  Empress  of  Russia, 
who  have  no  sugar  islands,  consume  sugar  cheaper  at  Vienna, 
and  Moscow,  with  all  the  charge  of  transporting  it  after  its 
arrival  in  Europe,  than  the  citizens  of  London  or  of  Paris. 
And  I  sincerely  believe,  that  if  France  and  England  were  to 
decide,  by  throwing  dice,  which  should  have  the  whole  of 
their  sugar  islands,  the  loser  in  the  throw  would  be  the  gainer. 
The  future  expense  of  defending  them  would  be  saved ;  the 
sugars  would  be  bought  cheaper  by  all  Europe,  if  the  inhab- 
itants might  make  it  without  interruption,  and,  whoever  im- 
ported the  sugar,  the  same  revenue  might  be  raised  by  duties 
at  the  customhouses  of  the  nation  that  consumed  it.  And, 
on  the  whole,  I  conceive  it  would  be  better  for  the  nations  now 
possessing  sugar  colonies  to  give  up  their  claim  to  them,  let 
them  govern  themselves,  and  put  them  under  the  protection 
of  all  the  powers  of  Europe  as  neutral  countries,  open  to  the 


I7«3]  TO  RICHARD  OSWALD  ^ 

commerce  of  all,  the  profits  of  the  present  monopolies  being 
by  no  means  equivalent  to  the  expense  of  maintaining  them. 

Article. 

If  war  should  hereafter  arise  between  Great  Britain  and 
the  United  States,  which  God  forbid,  the  merchants  of  either 
country  then  residing  in  the  other  shall  be  allowed  to  remain 
nine  months  to  collect  their  debts,  and  settle  their  affairs,  and 
may  depart  freely,  carrying  off  all  their  effects  without  moles- 
tation or  hindrance.  And  all  fishermen,  all  cultivators  of  the 
earth,  and  all  artisans  or  manufacturers  unarmed,  and  in- 
habiting unfortified  towns,  villages,  or  places,  who  labour  for 
the  common  subsistence  and  benefit  of  mankind,  and  peace- 
ably follow  their  respective  employments,  shall  be  allowed  to 
continue  the  same,  and  shall  not  be  molested  by  the  armed 
force  of  the  enemy  in  whose  power  by  the  events  of  the  war 
they  may  happen  to  fall ;  but,  if  any  thing  is  necessary  to  be 
taken  from  them,  for  the  use  of  such  armed  force,  the  same 
shall  be  paid  for  at  a  reasonable  price.  And  all  merchants 
or  traders  with  their  unarmed  vessels,  employed  in  commerce, 
exchanging  the  products  of  different  places,  and  thereby  ren- 
dering the  necessaries,  conveniences,  and  comforts  of  human 
life  more  easy  to  obtain,  and  more  general,  shall  be  allowed 
to  pass  freely,  unmolested.  And  neither  of  the  powers, 
parties  to  this  treaty,  shall  grant  or  issue  any  commission  to 
any  private  armed  vessels,  empowering  them  to  take  or  de- 
stroy such  trading  ships,  or  interrupt  such  commerce. 


8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

1386.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  l    (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  January  18,  1783. 
SIR, 

Agreable  to  the  Notice  just  received  from  your  Excellency, 
I  shall  acquaint  Mr.  Adams  with  your  desire  to  see  us  on 
Monday  before  ten  o'clock,  at  Versailles ;  and  we  shall  en- 
deavour to  be  punctual.  My  other  Colleagues  are  absent; 
Mr.  Laurens  being  gone  to  Bath,  in  England,  to  recover  his 
Health,  and  Mr.  Jay  into  Normandy.  I  shall  bring  my 
Grandson,  as  you  direct.  With  great  Respect,  I  have  the 
honour  to  be,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1387.    TO  JOHN  ADAMS          (M.  H.  s.) 
Passy,  January  19,  1783. 

SIR, 

Late  last  night  I  received  a  note  from  Count  de  Vergennes, 
acquainting  me  that  it  is  very  essential  he  should  have  a  con- 
ference with  us,  and  requesting  that  I  would  inform  my  col- 

1  The  following  is  the  note  from  Vergennes  to  which  the  above  is  a  reply  :  — 

"Versailles,  January  18,  1783. 
"  SIR, 

"  It  is  essential  that  I  should  have  the  honour  of  conferring  with  you,  Mr. 
Adams,  and  your  other  colleagues,  who  are  in  Paris.  I  therefore  pray  you  to 
invite  these  gentlemen  to  come  out  to  Versailles  with  you  on  Monday,  before 
ten  o'clock  in  the  morning.  It  will  be  well,  also,  if  you  will  bring  your  grand- 
son. It  will  be  necessary  for  much  writing  and  translating  from  English  into 
French  to  be  done.  The  object  for  which  I  ask  this  interview's  very  inter- 
esting to  the  United  States.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  Sir, 

"DE  VERGENNES."  — ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.   LIVINGSTON  9 

leagues.  He  desires  that  we  may  be  with  him  before  ten  on 
Monday  morning.  If  it  will  suit  you  to  call  here,  we  may  go 
together  in  my  carriage.  We  should  be  on  the  road  by  eight 
o'clock.  With  great  regard,  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1388.    TO    ROBERT   R.   LIVINGSTON    (D.  s.  w.) 

Passy,  January  21,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  have  just  received  your  letters  of  November  pth  and 
December  3d.1  This  is  to  inform  you,  and  to  request  you  to 
inform  the  Congress,  that  the  preliminaries  of  peace  between 
France,  Spain,  and  England,  were  yesterday  signed,  and  a 
cessation  of  arms  agreed  to  by  the  ministers  of  those  powers, 
and  by  us  in  behalf  of  the  United  States,  of  which  act,  so  far 
as  relates  to  us,  I  enclose  a  copy.  I  have  not  yet  obtained  a 
copy  of  the  preliminaries  agreed  to  by  the  three  crowns,  but 
hear,  in  general,  that  they  are  very  advantageous  to  France 
and  Spain.  I  shall  be  able,  in  a  day  or  two,  to  write  more 
fully  and  perfectly.  Holland  was  not  ready  to  sign  prelimi- 
naries, but  their  principal  points  are  settled.  Mr.  Laurens  is 
absent  at  Bath,  and  Mr.  Jay  in  Normandy,  for  their  healths, 
but  will  both  be  here  to  assist  in  forming  the  definitive  treaty. 
I  congratulate  you  and  our  country  on  the  happy  prospects 
afforded  us  by  the  finishing  so  speedily  this  glorious  revolu- 
tion, and  am,  with  great  esteem,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  See  "Diplomatic  Correspondence"  (Sparks),  Vol.  IV,  pp.  31,  45.  — ED. 


10 


THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 


1389.    TO   COMTE  DE  VERGENNES    (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Jan.  25.  1783 

SIR, 

I  received  the  Letter  your  Excellency  did  me  the  honour 
of  writing  to  me  the  3ist  of  the  last  Month,  relative  to  the 
fresh  pecuniary  Aid  which  the  King  was  dispos'd  to  grant 
to  the  Congress.  I  received  also  a  second  Letter  on  the  same 
Subject,  Dated  the  i6th  Instant.  I  am  extremely  sensible 
of  his  Majesty's  Goodness  in  according  a  new  Loan  to  the 
United  States  of  Six  Millions,  and  I  accept  the  same  in  their 
Behalf  with  the  most  perfect  Gratitude.  Considering  the 
enormous  Expence  this  extensive  War  must  occasion  to  his 
Majesty  I  did  hope  to  avoid  the  Necessity  of  repeating  their 
original  Request  of  a  larger  Sum ;  and  with  that  View  have 
had  many  Consultations  &  considered  various  Schemes 
with  our  Banker  Mr  Grand,  for  procuring  Money  elsewhere. 
This  with  other  Circumstances  occasioned  my  so  long  Delay 
in  Answering,  which  I  beg  you  would  excuse.  None  of  those 
Schemes  proving  practicable,  I  am  constrain'd  by  my  Orders 
humbly  to  request  that  the  Matter  may  be  reconsidered ;  and 
that  at  least  Six  Millions  more  may  be  added.  As  Peace  will 
diminish  both  the  King's  Expence  and  ours,  I  hope  this  Re- 
quest may  be  granted  and  that  it  may  be  sufficient  for  our 
Occasions.  I  am  however  ready  to  enter  into  and  sign  the 
Contract  your  Excellency  mentions  for  whatever  Sum  his 
Majesty's  Wisdom  &  Goodness  shall  think  fit  to  direct. 
I  inclose  the  Resolutions  of  Congress,  impowering  me  to 


1783]  TO  MRS.  MARY  HEWSON  n 

borrow  the  Twenty  Millions ;    in  which  their  Sense  of  his 
Majesty's   Friendship  is  strongly  express'd. 
I  am,  with  great  Respect, 
Sir, 

Your  Excellency's  most  obedient 
&  most  humble  Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1390.    TO   MRS.    MARY   HEWSON l     (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Jan.  27.  1783. 

—  The  Departure  of  my  dearest  Friend,2  which  I  learn 
from  your  last  Letter,  greatly  affects  me.  To  meet  with  her 
once  more  in  this  Life  was  one  of  the  principal  Motives  of 
my  proposing  to  visit  England  again,  before  my  Return  to 
America.  The  last  Year  carried  off  my  Friends  Dr.  Pringle, 
and  Dr.  Fothergill,  Lord  Kaims,  and  Lord  le  Despencer. 
This  has  begun  to  take  away  the  rest,  and  strikes  the  hardest. 
Thus  the  Ties  I  had  to  that  Country,  and  indeed  to  the 
World  in  general,  are  loosened  one  by  one,  and  I  shall  soon 
have  no  Attachment  left  to  make  me  unwilling  to  follow. 

I  intended  writing  when  I  sent  the  1 1  Books,  but  I  lost  the 
Time  in  looking  for  the  i2th.  I  wrote  with  that;  and  hope 
it  came  to  hand.  I  therein  ask'd  your  Counsel  about  my 
coming  to  England.  On  Reflection,  I  think  I  can,  from  my 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.     An 
auto,  draft  is  in  L.  C.  —  ED. 

2  Mrs.  Stevenson,  the  mother  of  Mrs.  Hewson.     Her  last  letter  to  Frank- 
lin is  dated  July  24,  1782  (U.  of  P.).     Upon  it  Franklin  wrote,  "this  good 
woman,  my  dear  Friend,  died  the  first  of  January  following.     She  was  about 
my  Age."  —  ED. 


12         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Knowledge  of  your  Prudence,  foresee  what  it  will  be,  viz.  not 
to  come  too  soon,  lest  it  should  seem  braving  and  insulting 
some  who  ought  to  be  respected.  I  shall,  therefore,  omit 
that  Journey  till  I  am  near  going  to  America,  and  then  just 
step  over  to  take  Leave  of  my  Friends,  and  spend  a  few  days 
with  you.  I  purpose  bringing  Ben  with  me,  and  perhaps  may 
leave  him  under  your  Care. 

At  length  we  are  in  Peace,  God  be  praised,  and  long,  very 
long,  may  it  continue.  All  Wars  are  Follies,  very  expensive, 
and  very  mischievous  ones.  When  will  Mankind  be  con- 
vinced of  this,  and  agree  to  settle  their  Differences  by  Ar- 
bitration? Were  they  to  do  it,  even  by  the  Cast  of  a  Dye, 
it  would  be  better  than  by  Fighting  and  destroying  each 
other. 

Spring  is  coming  on,  when  Travelling  will  be  delightful. 
Can  you  not,  when  your  children  are  all  at  School,  make  a 
little  Party,  and  take  a  Trip  hither?  I  have  now  a  large 
House,  delightfully  situated,  in  which  I  could  accommodate 
you  and  two  or  three  Friends,  and  I  am  but  half  an  Hour's 
Drive  from  Paris. 

In  looking  forward,  Twenty-five  Years  seems  a  long  Period, 
but,  in  looking  back,  how  short !  Could  you  imagine,  that 
'tis  now  full  a  Quarter  of  a  Century  since  we  were  first  ac- 
quainted? It  was  in  1757.  During  the  greatest  Part  of  the 
Time,  I  lived  in  the  same  House  with  my  dear  deceased 
Friend,  your  Mother;  of  course  you  and  I  saw  and  con- 
vers'd  with  each  other  much  and  often.  It  is  to  all  our 
Honours,  that  in  all  that  time  we  never  had  among  us  the 
smallest  Misunderstanding.  Our  Friendship  has  been  all 
clear  Sunshine,  without  the  least  Cloud  in  its  Hemisphere. 
Let  me  conclude  by  saying  to  you,  what  I  have  had  too 


1783]  TO  JOHN  SARGENT  13 

frequent  Occasions  to  say  to  my  other  remaining  old  Friends, 
"The  fewer  we  become,  the  more  let  us  love  one  another." 
Adieu,  and  believe  me  ever  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1391.    TO   JOHN  SARGENT1         (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Jan*  27.  1783. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  and  read  the  Letter  you  were  so  kind  as  to  write 
to  me  the  3d  instant,  with  a  great  deal  of  Pleasure,  as  it  in- 
form'd  me  of  the  Welfare  of  a  Family,  whom  I  have  so  long 
esteem'd  and  lov'd,  and  to  whom  I  am  under  so  many  Ob- 
ligations, which  I  shall  ever  remember.  Our  Correspondence 
has  been  interrupted  by  that  abominable  War.  I  neither 
expected  Letters  from  you,  nor  would  I  hazard  putting  you  in 
Danger  by  writing  any  to  you.  We  can  now  communicate 
freely;  and  next  to  the  Happiness  of  seeing  and  embracing 
you  all  again  at  Halstead,  will  be  that  of  hearing  frequently 
of  your  Health  and  Prosperity. 

Mrs.  Sargent  and  the  good  Lady,  her  Mother,  are  very 
kind  in  wishing  me  more  happy  Years.  I  ought  to  be  satis- 
fy'd  with  those  Providence  has  already  been  pleas'd  to  afford 
me,  being  now  in  my  seventy-eighth ;  a  long  Life  to  pass 

1  John  Sargent,  a  merchant  in  London,  and  a  director  of  the  Bank  of 
England,  was  M.P.  for  Midhurst  (1754-1764)  and  for  West  Looe,  1765-1768. 
He  lived  at  Halstead  Place,  Kent,  which  property  he  bought  from  Robert 
Ralph  Foley.  He  died  at  Tunbridge  Wells,  September  20,  1791.  Mrs.  Sar- 
gent died  December  5,  1792.  Their  "eldest  son"  was  John  Sargent,  M.P. 
for  Seaford  (1790).  He  married  Charlotte,  daughter  and  heiress  of  Richard 
Bettesworth,  Esq.,  of  Petworth,  Sussex.  He  died  in  1830,  having  had  six  sons 
and  three  daughters.  He  wrote  "The  Mine,  a  Dramatic  Poem"  (1785). —  ED. 


I4         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

without  any  uncommon  Misfortune,  the  greater  part  of  it  in 
Health  and  Vigor  of  Mind  and  Body,  near  Fifty  Years  of  it 
in  continu'd  Possession  of  the  Confidence  of  my  Country,  in 
public  Employments,  and  enjoying  the  Esteem  and  affection- 
ate, friendly  Regard  of  many  wise  and  good  Men  and  Women, 
in  every  Country  where  I  have  resided.  For  these  Mercies 
and  Blessings  I  desire  to  be  thankful  to  God,  whose  Pro- 
tection I  have  hitherto  had,  and  I  hope  for  its  Continuance 
to  the  End,  which  now  cannot  be  far  distant. 

The  Account  you  give  me  of  your  Family  is  pleasing,  except 
that  your  eldest  Son  continues  so  long  unmarried.  I  hope 
he  does  not  intend  to  live  and  die  in  Celibacy.  The  Wheel  of 
Life,  that  has  roll'd  down  to  him  from  Adam  without  Inter- 
ruption, should  not  stop  with  him.  I  would  not  have  one 
dead  unbearing  Branch  in  the  Genealogical  Tree  of  the  Sar- 
gents.  The  married  State  is,  after  all  our  Jokes,  the  happiest, 
being  conformable  to  our  Natures.  Man  &  Woman  have 
each  of  them  Qualities  &  Tempers,  in  which  the  other  is  de- 
ficient, and  which  in  Union  contribute  to  the  common  Felicity. 
Single  and  separate,  they  are  not  the  compleat  human  Being ; 
they  are  like  the  odd  Halves  of  Scissors ;  they  cannot  answer 
the  End  of  their  Formation. 

I  am  concern'd  at  the  Losses  you  have  suffered  by  the  War. 
You  are  still  young  and  active  enough  to  retrieve  them,  and 
Peace,  I  hope,  will  afford  the  Opportunity. 

You  mention  nothing  of  my  good  friend  Mrs.  Deane,  or 
her  amiable  Sisters,  whom  I  sometimes  saw  with  you,  nor  of 
Mr.  Chambers.  I  hope  they  are  all  well  &  happy.  Present 
my  Respects  to  Mrs.  Sargent,  whom  I  love  very  much,  and 
believe  me  ever,  my  dear  Friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1783]  TO  JOHN  COAKLEY  LETTSOM  15 


1392.    TO  CHARLES  W.  F.   DUMAS1 

Passy,  February  17,  1783 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  It  is  a  long  time  since  I  have  had  the  pleasure 
of  hearing  from  you.  I  hope,  however,  that  you  and  yours 
continue  well. 

The  bearers,  Mr.  President  Wheelock  and  his  brother,  go  to 
Holland  on  a  public-spirited  design,2  which  you  will  find 
recommended  by  many  eminent  persons  in  America. 

I  beg  leave  to  request  for  these  gentlemen  your  civilities 
and  best  counsels,  as  they  will  be  entire  strangers  in  your 
country. 

With  great  esteem,  I  am  ever,  dear  sir,  your  faithful,  humble 
servant,  B.  FRANKLIN. 

1393-    TO   JOHN  COAKLEY  LETTSOM8 
DEAR  SIR,  Passy,  March  6,  1783. 

I  received  your  favour  of  September  last.  It  found  me 
labouring  under  a  painful  disorder,  which  continued  long,  and 

1  From  "  The  Complete  Works  of  Benjamin  Franklin  "  (Bigelow),  Vol.  VIII, 
p.  258.  —  ED. 

2  To  procure  money  for  Dartmouth  College.     Jonathan  Trumbull  wrote  to 
Franklin,  November  9,  1782  (A.  P.  S.),  reminding  him  "of  the  circumstances 
of  the  first  institution  of  the  University  of  Dartmouth  in  the  State  of  New 
Hampshire,  —  that  the  late  venerable  Dr  Wheelock  was  indefatigable  in  his 
endeavours  to  civilise  and  christianize  the   Indian  natives,  and   to  promote 
humanity,  literature  and  piety,  and  for  that  end  sought  and  obtained  bene- 
factions  in   London  ;   .  .  .  the   Doctor's   worthy   son,   the   honorable   John 
Wheelock  Esq"  is  now  the  President,  and  in  imitation  of  his  father's  virtues, 
and  to  bring  to  perfection  the  institution  so  happily  begun  and  prospered,  is 
intrusted  and  authorized  by  its  Trustees  to  sollicite  benefactions  in  France  and 
Holland  to  compleat  that  laudable  beneficial  &  liberal  undertaking."  —  ED. 

8  First  published  by  Sparks  (Vol.  IX,  p.  493).     Dr.  Lettsom  (1744-1815), 


16         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

put  me  much  behind  hand  in  my  correspondence.  I  thank 
you  for  the  valuable  publications  that  accompanied  it,  par- 
ticularly those  of  your  own  composition,  which  I  read  with 
pleasure. 

Our  late  excellent  friend  *  was  always  proposing  something 
for  the  good  of  mankind.  You  will  find  instances  of  this  in 
one  of  his  letters  which  I  enclose,  the  only  one  I  can  at  present 
lay  my  hand  on.  I  have  some  very  valuable  ones  in  America, 
if  they  are  not  lost  in  the  late  confusions.  You  will  be  so 
kind  as  to  return  it  to  me,  after  having  extracted  from  it  what 
you  may  think  proper.  Just  before  I  left  England,  he,  in 
conjunction  with  Mr.  Barclay  and  myself,  laboured  hard  to 
prevent  the  coming  war,  but  our  endeavours  were  fruitless. 
This  transaction  is  alluded  to  in  the  paragraph  that  begins 
at  the  bottom  of  the  first  page.  If  we  may  estimate  the  good- 
ness of  a  man  by  his  disposition  to  do  good,  and  his  constant 
endeavours  and  success  in  doing  it,  I  can  hardly  conceive 
that  a  better  man  has  ever  existed. 

I  desire  to  be  considered  as  a  subscriber,  if  there  is  a  sub- 
scription, for  two  sets  of  his  works,2  which  I  will  pay  for  on 
demand.  With  great  esteem,  I  am,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

an  eminent  physician,  came  of  a  Quaker  family  of  Cheshire  origin.  He  was 
one  of  the  founders  (1770)  of  the  General  Dispensary  and  of  the  Medical 
Society  of  London,  and  participated  in  many  other  philanthropic  projects. 
He  published  a  "  Life  of  John  Fothergill,"  his  patron,  in  1783.  —  ED. 

1  Dr.  John  Fothergill.  —  ED. 

2  The  works  of  Dr.  John  Fothergill,  edited  by  J.  C.  Lettsom,  3  volumes, 
8vo,  1783.  — ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  MORRIS  17 

1394.    TO   ROBERT   MORRIS1 

Passy,  March  7, 1783. 

DEAR  SIR, 

With  this  I  send  you  a  copy  of  the  last  contract  I  made  with 
this  court,  respecting  the  late  loan  of  six  millions,  the  terms 
of  the  loan,  and  the  times  of  repayment.  It  was  impossible 
for  me  to  obtain  more,  and,  indeed,  considering  the  state  of 
finances  and  expenses  here,  I  wonder  I  have  obtained  so 
much.  You  will  see  by  the  enclosed  Gazette,  that  the  govern- 
ment is  obliged  to  stop  payment  for  a  year  of  its  own  bills  of 
exchange,  drawn  in  America  and  the  East  Indies ;  yet  it  has 
advanced  six  millions  to  save  the  credit  of  ours.  You  will,  I 
am  sure,  do  all  in  your  power  to  avoid  drawing  beyond  your 
funds  here ;  for  I  am  absolutely  assured,  that  no  farther  aid 
for  this  year  is  to  be  expected ;  and  it  will  not  be  strange,  that 
they  should  suffer  your  bills  to  take  the  same  fate  with  their 
own. 

You  will  also  see  in  the  contract  fresh  marks  of  the  King's 
goodness  towards  us,  in  giving  so  long  a  term  for  payment, 
and  forgiving  the  first  year's  interest.  I  hope  the  ravings  of 
a  certain  mischievous  madman  2  here  against  France  and  its 
ministers,  which  I  hear  of  every  day,  will  not  be  regarded  in 
America,  so  as  to  diminish  in  the  least  the  happy  union  that 
has  hitherto  subsisted  between  the  two  nations,  and  which  is 
indeed  the  solid  foundation  of  our  present  importance  in 
Europe.  With  great  esteem,  I  am  ever,  dear  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  First  published  by  Sparks  (Vol.  IX,  p.  494).  —  ED. 
*  John  Adams.  —  ED. 
VOL.  ix  —  c 


18         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

1395.    TO   ROBERT   R.   LIVINGSTON      (D.  s.  w.) 

Paris,  March  7,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  but  this  moment  hear  of  this  Opportunity,  by  which  I 
can  only  send  you  a  line  to  acquaint  you,  that  I  have  con- 
cluded the  Treaty  with  Sweden,  which  was  signed  on 
Wednesday  last.  You  will  have  a  Copy  by  the  first  good 
Opportunity.  It  differs  very  little  from  the  plan  sent  me ;  in 
nothing  material.1  The  English  Court  is  in  confusion  by 
another  change  of  Ministry,  Lord  Shelburne  and  his  friends 
having  resigned ;  but  it  is  not  yet  certainly  known  who  will 
succeed,  tho'  Lord  North  and  Mr.  Fox  are  talked  of  as  two, 
they  being  reconciled !  I  cannot  add,  but  that  I  am,  with 
great  Esteem,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  The  Change  in  the  Ministry  is  not  supposed  of  any 
Importance  respecting  our  definitive  Treaty,  which  must  con- 
form to  the  Preliminaries ;  but  we  shall  see. 


1396-    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES    (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  March  9,  1783. 

SIR,  Mr.  Barclay,  our  consul-general,  waits  upon  your 
Excellency  with  a  complaint  of  a  gross  affront  and  injury 
offered  to  the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  at  L'Orient,  by 
some  English  merchants  residing  at  Bourdeaux,  to  which  I 

1  This  treaty  is  printed  in  the  public  Journals  of  Congress,  Vol.  IV,  p.  241, 
under  the  date  of  July  29,  1783.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  19 

beg  your  Excellency's  attention,  and  that  you  would  order 
such  measures  to  be  taken  for  redress  as  the  nature  of  the 
case  will  appear  to  require.  I  am,  with  great  respect,  sir, 
your  Excellency's  most  obedient  and  most  humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1397.      TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES    (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  March  16,  1783. 

Sra: —  I  received  the  letter  your  Excellency  did  me  the 
honour  of  writing  to  me  respecting  the  means  of  promoting 
the  commerce  between  France  and  America.  Not  being 
myself  well  acquainted  with  the  state  of  that  commerce,  I 
have  endeavoured  by  conversation  with  some  of  our  merchants 
to  obtain  information.  They  complain  in  general  of  the 
embarrassment  it  suffers  by  the  numerous  internal  demands 
of  duties,  searches,  etc.,  that  it  is  subjected  to  in  this  country. 
Whether  these  can  be  well  removed,  and  the  system  changed, 
I  will  not  presume  to  say.  The  enclosed  letters  may,  how- 
ever, inform  your  Excellency  of  some  of  the  circumstances, 
and  probably  Mr.  Barclay,  our  consul,  may  furnish  others. 
In  general  I  would  only  observe  that  commerce,  consisting  in 
a  mutual  exchange  of  the  necessities  and  conveniences  of  life, 
the  more  free  and  unrestrained  it  is,  the  more  it  flourishes ;  and 
the  happier  are  all  the  nations  concerned  in  it.  Most  of  the 
restraints  put  upon  it  in  different  countries  seem  to  have  been 
the  projects  of  particulars  for  their  private  interest,  under 
pretence  of  public  good.  Your  Excellency  has  no  doubt  seen 
the  bill  now  under  consideration  in  the  British  Parliament 
respecting  their  trade  with  America,  and  will  consider  how 


20         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

far  it  may  be  practicable  to  give  facilities  to  the  future  trade 
between  America  and  your  sugar  islands,  as  well  as  with 
France,  similar  to  those  which  seem  now  to  be  projected  by 
England.  I  myself  wish  most  earnestly  that  France  may 
reap  speedily  those  great  advantages  from  the  American 
Commerce,  which  she  has  so  well  merited  by  her  generous 
aids  in  freeing  it  from  its  former  monopoly ;  and  every  thing 
in  my  power  to  promote  that  desirable  end  may  be  depended 
on.  With  great  respect,  I  am,  sir,  your  Excellency's  most 

obedient  and  most  humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1398.    TO   THE  EARL   OF   BUCHAN1    (L.  c.) 

Passy,  March  17,  1783. 

MY  LORD, 

I  received  the  Letter  your  Lordship  did  me  the  honour 
of  writing  to  me  the  i8th  past,  and  am  oblig'd  by  your  kind 
Congratulations  on  the  return  of  Peace,  which  I  hope  will  be 
lasting. 

With  regard  to  the  Terms  on  which  Lands  may  be  acquired 
in  America,  and  the  Manner  of  beginning  new  Settlements 
on  them,  I  cannot  give  better  Information  than  may  be  found 
in  a  Book  lately  printed  in  London,  under  some  such  Title 

1  David  Steuart  Erskitie,  eleventh  Earl  of  Buchan  [1742-1829],  during  his 
father's  life  bore  the  title  of  Lord  Cardross.  He  made  various  attempts  to 
reform  the  method  of  electing  Scotch  representative  peers.  He  founded  the 
society  of  antiquaries  of  Scotland.  He  was  a  frequent  contributor  to  The 
Gentleman's  Magazine.  He  corresponded  with  Horace  Walpole,  who  "  tried 
everything  but  being  rude  to  break  off  the  intercourse."  He  claimed  Wash- 
ington, whom  he  characterized  as  "  illustrious  and  excellent "  as  his  "  cousin  " 
and  "friend."  In  1792  he  sent  to  President  Washington  a  snuff  box  made 
from  the  tree  which  sheltered  Sir  William  Wallace.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO   THE  EARL   OF  BUCHAN  21 

as  Letters  from  a  Pensilvania  Farmer,  by  Hector  St.  John.1 
The  only  Encouragements  we  hold  out  to  Strangers  are,  a 
good  Climate,  fertile  Soil,  wholesome  Air  and  Water,  plenty 
of  Provisions  and  Fuel,  good  Pay  for  Labour,  kind  Neigh- 
bours, good  Laws,  Liberty,  and  a  hearty  Welcome ;  the  rest 
depends  on  a  Man's  own  Industry  and  Virtue.  Lands  are 
cheap,  but  they  must  be  bought.  All  Settlements  are  under- 
taken at  private  Expence;  the  Publick  contributes  nothing 
but  Defence  and  Justice.  I  should  not,  however,  expect 
much  Emigration  from  a  Country  so  much  drain'd  of  Men 
as  yours  must  have  been  by  the  late  War;  since  the  more 
have  left  it,  the  more  Room  and  the  more  Encouragement 
remain  for  those  who  staied  at  home.  But  this  you  can  best 
judge  of ;  and  I  have  long  observed  of  your  People,  that  their 
Sobriety,  Frugality,  Industry,  and  Honesty  seldom  fail  of 
Success  in  America,  and  of  procuring  them  a  good  Establish- 
ment among  us. 

I  do  not  recollect  the  Circumstance  you  are  pleas'd  to  men- 
tion, of  my  having  sav'd  a  citizen  of  St.  Andrew's,  by  giving 
a  Turn  to  his  disorder ;  and  I  am  curious  to  know  what  the 
Disorder  was,  and  what  the  Advice  I  gave  which  proved  so 
salutary.2  With  great  Regard,  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  For  information  concerning  Crevecoeur,  see  infra,  No.  1468,  p.  147.  — 
ED. 

8  "  It  was  a  fever  of  which  the  Earl  of  Buchan,  then  Lord  Cardross,  lay  ill  at 
St.  Andrews  ;  and  the  advice  was  not  to  blister,  according  to  the  old  practice, 
and  the  opinion  of  the  learned  Doctor  Simpson,  brother  of  the  celebrated 
geometrician  at  Glasgow."  —  W.  T.  F. 

In  A.  P.  S.  is  the  original  letter  from  Buchan  to  F.,  to  which  the  above  is  a 
reply.  It  is  dated  February  18,  1783,  and  in  it  the  Earl  writes:  — 

"  You  were  entitled  to  a  civic  crown  on  my  account  a  great  many  years  ago, 
when,  at  the  University  of  St.  Andrews,  you  gave  a  turn  to  the  career  of  a 


THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 
1399-    TO    JONATHAN   SHIPLEY        (L.  c.) 

Passy,  March  17,  1783. 
'  •  ' '    • 

I  received  with  great  pleasure  my  dear  and  respected 
Friend's  letter  of  the  5th  Instant,  as  it  informed  me  of  the 
Welfare  of  a  Family  I  so  much  esteem  and  love. 

The  Clamour  against  the  Peace  in  your  Parliament  would 
alarm  me  for  its  duration,  if  I  were  not  of  opinion  with  you, 
that  the  Attack  is  rather  against  the  Minister.  I  am  con- 
fident, none  of  the  opposition  would  have  made  a  better 
Peace  for  England,  if  they  had  been  in  his  Place ;  at  least,  I 
am  sure  that  Lord  Stormont,  who  seems  loudest  in  Railing 
at  it,  is  not  the  Man  that  could  have  mended  it.  My  Reasons 
I  will  give  you,  when  I  have,  what  I  hope  to  have,  the  great 
happiness  of  seeing  you  once  more,  and  conversing  with  you. 

They  talk  much  of  there  being  no  Reciprocity  in  our  Treaty. 
They  think  nothing,  then,  of  our  passing  over  in  silence  the 
Atrocities  committed  by  their  Troops,  and  demanding  no 
satisfaction  for  their  wanton  Burnings  and  Devastations  of 
our  fair  Towns  and  Countries.  They  have  heretofore  confest 
the  War  to  be  unjust,  and  nothing  is  plainer  inr  Reasoning 

disorder,  which  then  threatened  my  life.  You  have,  since  that  time,  done  so 
much,  and  Heaven  has  at  last  been  pleased  to  bless  and  crown  your  endeavours 
with  so  much  success,  that  civic  crowns  of  a  more  important  nature  are  due  to 
you,  and  certainly  await  you,  if  there  is  any  such  thing  as  public  gratitude  on 
the  face  of  the  earth. 

"  Many  of  my  acquaintances  in  this  part  of  the  world  seem  disposed  to  seek 
for  an  asylum  on  the  other  side  of  the  Atlantic  ;  and,  knowing  my  steady 
attachment  and  affection  to  a  people,  who  received  my  great-grandfather 
[Henry  Erskine,  third  Lord  Cardross,  who  emigrated  to  South  Carolina. — ED.] 
when  an  exile,  or  rather  a  fugitive  from  his  country,  during  the  administration 
of  Lauderdale  in  Scotland,  have  applied  to  me  for  information  on  the  subject 
of  settling  in  the  United  States."  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  JONATHAN  SHIPLEY  23 

than  that  the  Mischiefs  done  in  an  unjust  War  should  be 
repaired.  Can  Englishmen  be  so  partial  to  themselves,  as 
to  imagine  they  have  a  right  to  Plunder  and  destroy  as  much 
as  they  please,  and  then,  without  satisfying  for  the  Injuries 
they  have  done,  to  have  Peace  on  equal  Terms?  We  were 
favourable,  and  did  not  demand  what  Justice  entitled  us  to. 
We  shall  probably  be  blamed  for  it  by  our  Constituents; 
and  I  still  think  it  would  be  the  Interest  of  England  volun- 
tarily to  offer  Reparation  of  those  Injuries,  and  effect  it  as 
much  as  may  be  in  her  power.  But  this  is  an  interest  she 
will  never  see. 

Let  us  now  forgive  and  forget.  Let  each  Country  seek  its 
Advancement  in  its  own  internal  Advantages  of  Arts  and 
Agriculture,  not  in  retarding  or  preventing  the  Prosperity  of 
the  other.  America  will,  with  God's  blessing,  become  a 
great  and  happy  Country ;  and  England,  if  she  has  at  length 
gained  Wisdom,  will  have  gained  something  more  valuable, 
and  more  essential  to  her  Prosperity,  than  all  she  has  lost; 
and  will  still  be  a  great  and  respectable  Nation.  Her  great 
Disease  at  present  is  the  number  and  enormous  Salaries  and 
Emoluments  of  Office.  Avarice  and  Ambition  are  strong  Pas- 
sions, and,  separately,  act  with  great  Force  on  the  human 
Mind ;  but,  when  both  are  united,  and  may  be  gratified  in  the 
same  Object,  their  violence  is  almost  irresistible,  and  they 
hurry  Men  headlong  into  Factions  and  Contentions,  destruc- 
tive of  all  good  government.  As  long,  therefore,  as  these  great 
Emoluments  subsist,  your  Parliament  will  be  a  stormy  Sea, 
and  your  Public  Councils  confounded  by  private  Interests. 
But  it  requires  much  Public  Spirit  and  Virtue  to  abolish  them ; 
more  perhaps  than  can  now  be  found  in  a  Nation  so  long 
corrupted.  I  am,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


24         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

1400.    TO   SIR  WILLIAM   JONES1 

Passy,  March  17,  1783. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  duly  received  your  obliging  letter  of  November  i5th. 
You  will  have  since  learned  how  much  I  was  then,  and  have 
been  continually  engaged  in  public  affairs,  and  your  goodness 
will  excuse  my  not  having  answered  it  sooner.  You  an- 
nounced your  intended  marriage  with  my  much  respected 
friend,  Miss  Anna  Maria,  which  I  assure  you  gave  me  great 
pleasure,  as  I  cannot  conceive  a  match  more  likely  to  be  happy, 
from  the  amiable  qualities  each  of  you  possesses  so  plentifully. 
You  mention  its  taking  place,  as  soon  as  a  prudent  attention 
to  worldly  interests  would  permit.  I  just  now  learn  from  Mr. 
Hodgson,  that  you  are  appointed  to  an  honourable  and  profit- 
able place  in  the  Indies ;  so  I  expect  now  soon  to  hear  of  the 
wedding,  and  to  receive  the  profile.  With  the  good  Bishop's 
permission,  I  will  join  my  blessing  with  his ;  adding  my  wishes, 
that  you  may  return  from  that  corrupting  country,  with  a 
great  deal  of  money  honestly  acquired,  and  with  full  as  much 
virtue  as  you  carry  out  with  you. 

The  engraving  of  my  medal,  which  you  know  was  pro- 
jected before  the  peace,  is  but  just  finished.  None  are  yet 
struck  in  hard  metal,  but  will  be  in  a  few  days.  In  the  mean 

1  Sir  William  Jones  (1746-1794),  the  distinguished  Oriental  scholar,  was 
appointed  in  March,  1783,  Judge  of  the  high  court  at  Bengal.  The  appoint- 
ment long  coveted  by  him  was  delayed  because  of  his  uncompromising  hostility 
to  the  American  war.  He  was  knighted  March  19,  1783,  and  in  April  he  was 
married  to  Anna  Maria,  eldest  daughter  of  Jonathan  Shipley,  bishop  of  St. 
Asaph.  During  his  residence  in  India  (1783-1794)  he  founded  the  Bengal 
Asiatic  Society,  and  made  numerous  contributions  to  the  "  Asiatic  Researches." 
The  letter  is  printed  here  from  Sparks,  Vol.  IX,  p.  500.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  JOHN  DICKINSON  25 

time,  having  this  good  opportunity  by  Mr.  Penn,  I  send  you 
one  of  the  tpreuves.  You  will  see  that  I  have  profited  by 
some  of  your  ideas,  and  adopted  the  mottos  you  were  so  kind 
as  to  furnish. 

I  am  at  present  quite  recovered  from  my  late  illness,  and 
flatter  myself  that  I  may  in  the  ensuing  summer  be  able  to 
undertake  a  trip  to  England,  for  the  pleasure  of  seeing  once 
more  my  dear  friends  there,  among  whom  the  Bishop  and 
his  family  stand  foremost  in  my  estimation  and  affection. 
I  thank  you  for  your  good  wishes  respecting  me.  Mine  for 
your  welfare  and  prosperity  are  not  less  earnest  and  sincere ; 
being  with  great  truth,  dear  Sir,  your  affectionate  friend,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1401.    TO  JOHN  DICKINSON  *          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  March  23*  1783 

SIR  :  —  Permit  me  to  congratulate  your  Excellency  on  your 
advancement  to  the  Presidency  of  Pennsylvania,  wherein  I 
hope  you  may  find  opportunities  of  doing  much  good  to  your 
Country,  the  only  Consideration  that  can  make  an  elevated 
situation  agreeable  to  a  reasonable  Mind. 

Mr.  Penn,2  son  of  our  late  Proprietary,  purposes  going 
over  shortly,  and  will  do  me  the  honour  of  delivering  this  line 
to  you.  He  appears  to  me,  in  the  short  acquaintance  I  have 
had  with  him,  to  be  an  amiable  young  Gentleman  of  a  prom- 
ising valuable  Character,  and  if  any  Recommendations  of 
mine  to  your  Civilities  and  Friendship  could  be  thought 
necessary,  he  should  have  them  fully.  But  I  confine  myself 

1  Then  president  of  the  state  of  Pennsylvania.  —  ED. 

2  John,  son  of  Thomas  Penn.  —  ED. 


26         THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

here  to  what  regards  the  Family  in  general.  They  think  the 
late  Act  of  Assembly  respecting  their  Lands  has  done  them 
great  Injustice.  Not  being  in  the  Country  when  it  was  made, 
and  being  unacquainted  with  the  Reasonings  upon  which  it 
was  founded,  I  have  only  been  able  to  say  that  I  did  not 
believe  any  Injustice  was  intended,  and  that  the  offered  Com- 
pensation had  been  supposed  an  equitable  one.  I  have  not 
heard  that  the  Family  was  considered  as  delinquent  in  the 
Affair  of  the  Revolution.  But  as  I  find  it  is  imagined  that 
some  Suspicions  of  their  being  unfavourable  to  it  have  per- 
haps prejudiced  the  Assembly  against  them,  and  that  the 
Warmth  of  the  Times  has  produced  a  harder  Treatment  of 
their  Interests  than  would  otherwise  have  been  thought  of, 
I  would  beg  leave  to  mention  it  to  your  Excellency's  Con- 
sideration, whether  it  would  not  be  reputable  for  the  Province, 
in  the  cooler  Season  of  Peace  to  reconsider  that  Act,  and  if 
the  Allowance  made  to  the  Family  should  be  found  inadequate, 
to  regulate  it  according  to  Equity,  since  it  becomes  a  Virgin 
State  to  be  particularly  careful  of  its  Reputation,  and  to 
guard  itself  not  only  against  committing  Injustice,  but 
against  even  the  suspicion  of  it. 

With  great  Esteem  and  Respect  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  etc. 

B.  F. 

1402.    TO   DAVID  HARTLEY1 

DEAR  SIR,  Passy»  March  23>  '783. 

I  received  the  letter  you  did  me  the  honour  of  writing  to 
me,  requesting  a  recommendation  to  America,  of  Mr.  Joshua 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin  »  (1817),  Vol. 
II,  p.  326. —  ED. 


1783]  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  27 

Grigby.  I  have  accordingly  written  one,  and,  having  an 
opportunity  the  other  day,  I  sent  it  under  cover  to  Mr.  Ben- 
jamin Vaughan.  The  general  proclamations  you  wished  for, 
suspending  or  rather  putting  an  end  to  hostilities,  are  now 
published;  so  that  your  " heart  is  at  rest,"  and  mine  with  it. 
You  may  depend  on  my  joining  my  hearty  endeavours  with 
yours  in  "  cultivating  conciliatory  principles  between  our 
two  countries";  and  I  may  venture  to  assure  you,  that  if 
your  bill  for  a  provisional  establishment  of  the  commerce  had 
passed  as  at  first  proposed,  a  stipulation  on  our  part  in  the 
definitive  treaty,  to  allow  reciprocal  and  equal  advantages 
and  privileges  to  your  subjects,  would  have  been  readily 
agreed  to.  With  great  and  sincere  esteem,  I  am  ever,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1403.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES    (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

(A.  P.  s.) 

Passy,  March  24,  1783. 
SIR, 

I  am  desirous  of  printing  a  translation  of  the  Constitutions 
of  the  United  States  of  America,  published  at  Philadelphia, 
in  1781,  by  order  of  Congress.  Several  of  these  Constitu- 
tions have  already  appeared  in  the  English  and  American 
newspapers ;  others  have  appeared  elsewhere ;  but  there  has 
never  yet  been  a  complete  translation  of  them.  That,  of 
which  I  have  the  honour  to  speak  to  your  Excellency,  being 
an  octavo  volume,  contains  the  different  Constitutions  of  the 
United  States,  their  treaty  with  France,  and  no  foreign  matter. 
I  have  made  arrangements  for  this  purpose  with  M.  Pierres, 
who  is  ready  to  commence  the  impression,  and  I  hope  that 
your  Excellency  will  give  your  approbation. 


28         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

M.  Pierres  will  need  a  permit  from  the  Keeper  of  the  Seals 
for  printing  and  selling  this  work,  after  having  furnished  me 
with  the  number  of  copies  agreed  upon.  As  I  strongly  desire, 
that  this  translation  may  appear  at  an  early  day,  I  shall  feel 
under  great  obligations  to  your  Excellency,  if  you  will  have 
the  goodness  to  request  the  Keeper  of  the  Seals  to  send  the 
order  without  delay;  and,  should  the  formalities  required  for 
the  purpose  demand  any  considerable  time,  to  request  him 
to  authorize  by  letter  M.  Pierres  to  proceed  with  the  work. 

I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1404.    TO   EMMANUEL   DE  ROHAN1 

Passy  April  6,  1783. 

MY  LORD, 

I  have  the  honour  to  address  to  your  Eminent  Highness 
the  medal,  which  I  have  lately  had  struck.2  It  is  a  homage 
of  gratitude,  my  Lord,  which  is  due  to  the  interest  you  have 
taken  in  our  cause ;  and  we  no  less  owe  it  to  your  virtues,  and 
to  your  Eminent  Highness's  wise  administration  of  govern- 
ment. 

Permit  me,  my  Lord,  to  demand  your  protection  for  such 
of  our  citizens  as  circumstances  may  lead  to  your  ports. 
I  hope  that  your  Eminent  Highness  will  be  pleased  to  grant 
it  to  them,  and  kindly  receive  the  assurances  of  the  pro- 
found respect  with  which  I  am,  my  Lord,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  Grand  master  of  the  Order  of  St.  John  of  Jerusalem,  and  ruler  of  Malta 
(1775-1797)-  — ED. 

2  See  letter  to  R.  R.  Livingston,  March  4,  1782.  -—ED. 


1783]  TO  M.  ROSENCRONE  29 

1405.    TO   M.   ROSENCRONE1          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  15,  1783. 

SIR, 

M.  de  Walterstorff2  has  communicated  to  me  a  Letter 
from  your  Excellency  to  him  which  affords  me  great  Pleasure, 
as  it  expresses  in  clear  and  strong  Terms  the  good  Dis- 
position of  your  Court  to  form  Connections  of  Friendship  and 
Commerce  with  the  United  States  of  America.  I  am  confi- 
dent, that  the  same  good  Disposition  will  be  found  in  the 
Congress;  and,  having  acquainted  that  respectable  Body 
with  the  Purport  of  your  Letter,  I  expect  a  Commission  will 
soon  be  sent,  appointing  some  Person  in  Europe  to  enter  into 
a  Treaty  with  his  Majesty  the  King  of  Denmark,  for  the 
Purposes  desired. 

In  the  mean  time,  to  prepare  and  forward  the  Business 
as  much  as  may  be,  I  send,  for  your  Excellency's  Considera- 
tion, such  a  Sketch  as  you  mention,  form'd  on  the  Base  of 
our  Treaty  with  Holland,  on  which  I  shall  be  glad  to  receive 
your  Excellency's  Sentiments.  And  I  hope  that  this  Trans- 
action, when  compleated,  may  be  the  means  of  producing 
and  securing  a  long  and  happy  Friendship  between  our  two 
Nations. 

To  smooth  the  Way  for  obtaining  this  desirable  End, 
as  well  as  to  comply  with  my  Duty,  it  becomes  necessary  for 
me  on  this  Occasion  to  mention  to  your  Excellency  the 
Affair  of  our  three  Prizes,  which,  having  during  the  War 
entered  Bergen  as  a  neutral  and  friendly  Port,  where  they 

1  Minister  of  foreign  affairs  at  Copenhagen.  —  ED. 

8  See  the  following  letter,  to  R.  R.  Livingston,  April  15,  1783.  —  ED. 


30         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

might  repair  the  Damages  they  had  suffered,  and  procure 
Provisions,  were,  by  an  order  of  your  Predecessor  in  the  Office 
you  so  honourably  fill,  violently  seized  and  delivered  to  our 
Enemies.  I  am  inclined  to  think  it  was  a  hasty  Act,  pro- 
cured by  the  importunitys  and  Misrepresentations  of  the 
British  Minister,  and  that  your  Court  could  not,  on  reflection, 
approve  of  it.  But  the  Injury  was  done,  and  I  flatter  myself 
your  Excellency  will  think  with  me,  that  it  ought  to  be  re- 
paired. The  Means  and  Manner  I  beg  leave  to  recommend  to 
your  Consideration,  and  am,  with  great  Respect,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1406.    TO   ROBERT   R.   LIVINGSTON      (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  15,  1783. 

SIR, 

You  complain  sometimes  of  not  hearing  from  us.  It  is 
now  near  three  Months  since  any  of  us  have  heard  from 
America.  I  think  our  last  Letters  came  with  General  de 
Rochambeau.  There  is  now  a  Project  under  Consideration 
for  establishing  Monthly  Packet  Boats  between  France  and 
New  York,  which  I  hope  will  be  carried  into  Execution ;  our 
Correspondences  then  may  be  more  regular  and  frequent. 

I  send  herewith  another  Copy  of  the  Treaty  concluded  with 
Sweden.  I  hope,  however,  that  you  will  have  received  the 
former,  and  that  the  Ratification  is  forwarded.  The  King, 
as  the  Ambassador  informs  me,  is  now  employ'd  in  exam- 
ining the  Duties  payable  in  his  Ports,  with  a  View  of  lowering 
them  in  favour  of  America,  and  thereby  encouraging  and 
facilitating  our  mutual  Commerce. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  JR.   LIVINGSTON  31 

M.  de  Walterstorff  Chambellan  du  Roy  de  Dannemarck, 
formerly  Chief  Justice  of  the  Danish  West  India  Islands, 
was  last  year  at  Paris,  where  I  had  some  Acquaintance  with 
him,  and  he  is  now  return'd  hither.  The  Newspapers  have 
mention'd  him  as  intended  to  be  sent  Minister  from  his  Court 
to  Congress;  but  he  tells  me  no  such  Appointment  has  yet 
been  made.  He  assures  me,  however,  that  the  King  has  a 
strong  Desire  to  have  a  Treaty  of  Friendship  and  Commerce 
with  the  United  States;  and  he  has  communicated  to  me  a 
Letter,  which  he  received  from  M.  Rosencrone,  the  Minister 
for  Foreign  Affairs,  expressing  that  Disposition.  I  enclose 
a  Copy  of  the  Letter;  and,  if  the  Congress  shall  approve  of 
entring  into  such  a  Treaty  with  the  King  of  Denmark,  of 
which  I  told  M.  de  Walterstorff  I  made  no  doubt,  they  will 
send  to  me,  or  whom  else  they  shall  think  proper,  the  necessary 
Powers  and  Instructions  for  that  purpose.  In  the  mean 
time,  to  keep  the  Business  in  Train,  I  have  sent  to  that  Min- 
ister, for  his  Consideration,  a  Translation  of  the  Plan,  mutatis 
mutandis,  which  I  receiv'd  from  Congress  for  a  Treaty  with 
Sweden,  accompanied  by  a  Letter,  of  which  likewise  I  enclose 
a  Copy.  I  think  it  would  be  well  to  make  it  one  of  the  In- 
structions to  whoever  is  commission'd  for  the  Treaty,  that  he 
previously  procure  Satisfaction  for  the  Prizes  mention'd  in 
my  Letter. 

The  Definitive  Treaties  have  met  with  great  Delays,  partly 
by  the  Tardiness  of  the  Dutch,  but  principally  by  the  Dis- 
tractions in  the  Court  of  England,  where,  for  six  or  seven 
Weeks,  there  was  properly  no  Ministry,  nor  any  Business 
effected.  They  have  at  last  settled  a  Ministry,  but  of  such  a 
Composition  as  does  not  promise  to  be  lasting.  The  Papers 
will  inform  you  who  they  are.  It  is  now  said,  that  Mr. 


32          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Oswald,  who  sign'd  the  Preliminaries,  is  not  to  return  here, 
but  that  Mr.  David  Hartley  comes  in  his  stead  to  settle  the 
definitive.  A  Congress  is  also  talk'd  of,  and  that  some  use 
is  therein  to  be  made  of  the  Mediation  formerly  proposed 
of  the  Imperial  Courts.  Mr.  Hartley  is  an  old  Friend  of  mine, 
and  a  strong  Lover  of  Peace,  so  that  I  hope  we  shall  not  have 
much  difficult  Discussion  with  him;  but  I  could  have  been 
content  to  have  finish'd  with  Mr.  Oswald,  whom  we  always 
found  very  reasonable. 

Mr.  Laurens,  having  left  Bath,  mended  in  his  Health,  is 
daily  expected  at  Paris,  where  Messrs.  Jay  and  Adams  still 
continue.  Mr.  Jefferson  has  not  yet  arriv'd,  nor  the  Romulus, 
in  which  Ship  I  am  told  he  was  to  have  taken  his  Passage. 
I  have  been  the  more  impatient  of  this  Delay,  from  the  Ex- 
pectation given  me  of  full  Letters  by  him.  It  is  extraordinary, 
that  we  should  be  so  long  without  any  Arrivals  from  America 
in  any  Port  of  Europe.  We  have  as  yet  heard  nothing  of  the 
Reception  of  the  preliminary  Articles  in  America,  tho'  it  is 
now  nearly  5  Months  since  they  were  signed.  Barney, 
indeed,  did  not  get  aVay  from  hence  before  the  Middle  of 
January,  but  Copies  went  by  other  Ships  long  before  him; 
he  waited  some  time  for  the  Money  he  carried,  and  after- 
wards was  detained  by  violent  contrary  Winds.  He  had  a 
Passport  from  England,  and  I  hope  arriv'd  safe ;  tho'  we  have 
been  in  some  Pain  for  him,  on  Ace*  of  a  Storm  soon  after  he 
sail'd. 

The  English  Merchants  have  shown  great  Eagerness  to 
reassume  their  Commerce  with  America ;  but  apprehending 
that  our  Laws,  prohibiting  that  Commerce,  would  not  be 
repeal'd  till  England  had  set  the  Example  by  repealing  theirs, 
the  Number  of  Vessels  they  had  loaded  with  Goods  have  been 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.  LIVINGSTON  33 

detain'd  in  Port,  while  the  Parliament  have  been  debating 
on  the  Repealing  Bill,  which  has  been  alter'd  two  or  three 
times,  and  is  not  yet  agreed  upon.  It  was  at  first  propos'd 
to  give  us  equal  Privileges  in  Trade  with  their  own  Subjects, 
repealing  thereby,  with  respect  to  us,  so  much  of  their  Navi- 
gation Act,  as  regards  Foreign  Nations.  But  that  Plan 
seems  to  be  laid  aside,  and  what  will  finally  be  done  in  the 
Affair  is  yet  uncertain. 

There  is  not  a  Port  in  France,  and  few  in  Europe,  from 
which  I  have  not  receiv'd  several  Applications  of  Persons 
desiring  to  be  appointed  Consuls  for  America.  They  gen- 
erally offer  to  execute  the  Office  for  the  Honour  of  it,  with- 
out Salary.  I  suppose  the  Congress  will  wait  to  see  what 
Course  the  Commerce  will  take,  and  in  what  Places  it  will  fix 
itself,  in  order  to  find  where  Consuls  will  be  necessary,  before 
any  Appointments  are  made,  and  perhaps  it  will  then  be 
thought  best  to  send  some  of  our  own  People.  If  they  are 
not  allow'd  to  Trade,  there  must  be  a  great  Expence  for 
Salaries.  If  they  may  trade,  and  are  Americans,  the  Fortunes 
they  make  will  mostly  settle  at  last  in  our  own  Country.  The 
Agreement  I  was  to  make  here  respecting  Consuls,  has  not 
yet  been  concluded.  The  Article  of  Trading  is  important. 
I  think  it  would  be  well  to  reconsider  it. 

I  have  caused  to  be  struck  here  the  Medal,  which  I  for- 
merly mention'd  to  you,  the  Design  of  which  you  seem'd  to 
approve.  I  inclose  one  of  them  in  Silver,  for  the  President 
of  Congress,  and  one  in  Copper  for  yourself ;  the  Impression 
on  Copper  is  thought  to  appear  best,  and  you  will  soon 
receive  a  Number  for  the  Members.  I  have  presented  one 
to  the  King,  and  another  to  the  Queen,  both  in  Gold,  and 
one  in  Silver  to  each  of  the  Ministers,  as  a  monumental 

VOL.   IT  —  D 


34         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Acknowledgment,  which  may  go  down  to  future  Ages,  of  the 
Obligations  we  are  under  to  this  Nation.  It  is  mighty  well 
received,  and  gives  general  Pleasure.  If  the  Congress  ap- 
prove of  it,  as  I  hope  they  will,  I  may  add  something  on  the 
Die  (for  those  to  be  struck  hereafter)  to  show  that  it  was  done 
by  their  Order,  which  I  could  not  venture  to  do  till  I  had 
Authority  for  it. 

A  multitude  of  People  are  continually  applying  to  me 
personally,  and  by  Letters,  for  Information  respecting  the 
means  of  transporting  themselves,  Families,  and  Fortunes 
to  America.  I  give  no  Encouragement  to  any  of  the  King's 
subjects,  as  I  think  it  would  not  be  right  in  me  to  do  it  with- 
out their  Sovereign's  approbation;  and,  indeed,  few  offer 
from  France  but  Persons  of  irregular  Conduct  and  desperate 
Circumstances,  whom  we  had  better  be  without ;  but  I  think 
there  will  be  great  Emigrations  from  England,  Ireland,  and 
Germany.  There  is  a  great  Contest  among  the  Ports,  which 
of  them  shall  be  of  those  to  be  declared  FreeioT  the  American 
Trade.  Many  applications  are  made  to  me  to  interest  myself 
in  the  behalf  of  all  of  them;  but  having  no  Instructions  on 
that  head,  and  thinking  it  a  Matter  more  properly  belonging 
to  the  Consul,  I  have  done  nothing  in  it. 

I  have  continu'd  to  send  you  the  English  Papers.  You 
will  often  see  Falshoods  in  them  respecting  what  I  say  and 
do  and  write,  &c.  You  know  those  Papers  too  well  to  make 
any  Contradiction  of  such  Stuff  necessary  from  me. 

Mr.  Barclay  is  often  ill,  and  I  am  afraid  the  Settlement 
of  our  Accounts  will  be,  in  his  Hands,  a  long  Operation. 
I  shall  be  impatient  at  being  detain'd  here  on  that  Score 
after  the  Arrival  of  my  Successor.  Would  it  not  be  well  to 
join  Mr.  Ridley  with  Mr.  Barclay  for  that  Service?  He  re- 


1783]      INTRODUCTION  OF  PROFESSOR  MARTER          35 

sides  in  Paris,  and  seems  active  in  Business.  I  know  not, 
indeed,  whether  he  would  undertake  it,  but  wish  he  may. 

The  Finances  here  are  embarrass'd,  and  a  new  loan  is 
propos'd  by  way  of  Lottery,  in  which,  it  is  said  by  some 
Calculators,  the  King  will  pay  at  the  Rate  of  7  per  cent. 
I  mention  this  to  furnish  you  with  a  fresh  convincing  Proof 
against  Cavillers  of  the  King's  Generosity  towards  us,  in  lend- 
ing us  Six  Millions  this  year  at  5  per  cent,  and  of  his  con- 
cern for  our  Credit,  in  saving  by  that  Sum  the  Honour  of 
Mr.  Morris's  Bills,  while  those  drawn  by  his  own  Officers 
abroad  have  their  Payment  suspended  for  a  Year  after  they 
become  due.  You  have  been  told,  that  France  might  help 
us  more  liberally  if  she  would.  This  last  Transaction  is  a 
Demonstration  of  the  contrary. 

Please  to  show  these  last  Paragraphs  to  Mr.  Morris,  to 
whom  I  cannot  now  write,  the  Notice  of  this  Ship  being 
short ;  but  it  is  less  necessary,  as  Mr.  Grand  writes  him  fully. 

With  great  Esteem,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 
P.  S.     Mr.  Laurens  is  just  arrived. 


1407.    INTRODUCTION  OF  PROFESSOR  MARTER 

(A.   P.   S.) 
Passy,  April  22,  1783. 

SIR, 

M.  Marter,  Professor  of  Natural  History  in  the  Service  of 
the  Emperor,  being  appointed  to  make  a  Collection  of  Plants 
and  Animals  from  the  four  Quarters  of  the  World,  for  his 
Imperial  Majesty's  Botanic  Gardens  and  Menagerie,  proposes 
to  begin  his  Operations  by  a  Journey  thro*  the  Countries 
under  the  Government  of  the  United  States  of  America.  He 


36         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

is  strongly  recommended  to  me  by  his  Excellency  the  Am- 
bassador from  that  Court ;  and  I  take  leave  to  recommend 
him  not  only  to  the  Civilities  you  are  pleas'd  in  bestowing  on 
Strangers  of  Merit  but  to  all  the  Assistances  and  Facilities 
your  Station  &  the  Influence  attending  it,  may  enable  you 
to  afford  him  in  the  Execution  of  his  Commission,  being 
persuaded  that  your  Zeal  for  the  Increase  of  Useful^  Science, 
as  well  as  the  Respect  due  to  his  August  Employer,  will  in- 
duce you  to  render  Mr.  Marter  such  Services  with  Pleasure. 
I  have  the  honour  to  be  very  respectfully, 

Sir, 

Your  [Excellency's] 
15  Copies [B.  FRANKLIN.] 


1408.    TO   MRS.   MARY  HEWSON1       (p.  c.) 

Passy,  April  26,  1783. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  in  its  time  your  kind  Letter  of  Feb.  22.  I  am 
sensible  of  the  Prudence  of  your  Advice  respecting  my  coming 
to  England,  and  shall  follow  it.  Accept  my  Thanks  for  that, 
and  for  your  kind  Invitation  to  Cheam,  when  I  do  come ;  but 
the  little  left  of  Life  at  my  Age  will,  perhaps,  hurry  me  home, 
as  soon  as  I  can  be  quit  of  my  Employment  here.  I  should, 
indeed,  have  great  Pleasure  in  seeing  you,  and  in  being  some 
time  with  you  and  your  little  Family.  I  cannot  have  all  I 
wish. 

Mr.  Williams  is  now  here  with  his  Family.  I  shall  men- 
tion to  him  his  not  answering  your  Letter.  We  talk'd  yester- 
day of  you,  and  of  his  Friend  Dolly,  whom  I  have  not  forgotten, 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  37 

as  she  supposes.  He  express'd  the  highest  Esteem  and  Re- 
gard for  you  both.  My  Love  to  her  when  you  see  her. 
I  send  you  some  more  of  the  little  Books,  and  am  ever,  my 

dear  Friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1409.    TO   ROBERT   R.   LIVINGSTON    (D.  s.  w.) 

Passy,  April  27,  1783. 
SIR, 

The  Count  del  Veome,  an  Italian  Nobleman  of  great  dis- 
tinction, does  me  the  honour  to  be  the  Bearer  of  this.  I  have 
not  the  Satisfaction  to  be  personally  acquainted  with  this 
Gentleman,  but  am  much  solicited  by  some  of  my  particular 
friends,  to  whom  his  Merits  and  Character  are  known,  to 
afford  him  this  Introduction  to  you.  He  is,  I  understand,  a 
great  Traveller,  and  his  view  in  going  to  America  is  merely 
to  see  the  Country  and  its  great  Men.  I  pray  you  will  show 
him  every  Civility,  and  afford  him  that  Counsel,  which  as  a 
Stranger  he  may  stand  in  need  of.  With  great  respect,  I  am, 
&c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1410.    TO   COMTE   DE  VERGENNES  (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  May  4,  1783. 

SIR  :  —  I  have  considered  the  proposal  of  M.  le  Marq.  de 
Se*gur  to  cede  to  the  Congress  the  military  stores  left  by  M. 
de  Rochambeau  at  Baltimore,1  and  I  am  of  opinion  that  it  is 

1  «  A  la  reception  de  cette  lettre,  vous  prendres  les  ordres  du  General 
Washington  pour  les  dispositions  qui  devront  preceder  1'embarquemont  de  la 


38         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

probable  a  part  of  them  may  be  acceptable,  if  not  the  whole, 
and  that  possibly  some  of  the  different  States  may  be  inclined 
to  purchase  what  the  Congress  should  not  want.  But  as  I  am 
ignorant  of  what  may  or  may  not  be  wanted  by  the  Congress, 
and  have  no  orders  to  purchase  or  procure  more  stores  than 
have  already  been  provided  here,  I  can  enter  into  no  agree- 
ment respecting  them.  If  a  power  be'sent  to  the  ambassador 
or  consul  to  treat  with  the  Congress  or  the  separate  States 
concerning  them,  it  may  be  the  most  probable  means  of  dis- 
posing of  them  to  advantage. 

I  am  with  respect,  sir,  your  Excellency's  most  obedient  and 
humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1411.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES      (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  May  5,  1783. 

SIR  :  —  I  have  the  honour  to  communicate  to  your  Excel- 
lency herewith  three  articles  proposed  between  Mr.  Hartley 
and  the  American  Commissioners  respecting  commerce.  He 
has  sent  them  to  his  court  for  their  approbation.  I  doubt 
their  obtaining  it.  But  we  shall  see. 

I  am,  with  respect,  sir,  your  Excellency's  most  obedient 
and  most  humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

legion,  celui  des  detachement  que  vous  commandez,  de  la  grosse  artillerie 
laissee  a  Baltimore  et  enfin  des  soldats  malades  qui  n'ont  pu  suivre  les  regi- 
ments dontils  font  partie."—  Segur  to  Lauzun,  Jan.  23, 1783.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  39 

1412.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES      (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  May  5,  1783. 

SIR, 

It  was  my  intention  to  pay  my  devoirs  at  Versailles  to- 
morrow. I  thank  your  Excellency,  nevertheless,  for  your 
kind  admonition.1  I  omitted  two  of  the  last  three  days,  from 
a  mistaken  apprehension,  that,  being  holidays,  there  would 
be  no  court.  Mr.  Laurens  and  Mr.  Jay  are  both  invalids; 
and,  since  my  last  severe  fit  of  the  gout,  my  legs  have  con- 
tinued so  weak,  that  I  am  hardly  able  to  keep  pace  with  the 
ministers  who  walk  fast,  especially  in  going  up  and  down 
stairs. 

I  beg  you  to  be  assured,  that  whatever  deficiency  there  may 
be  of  strength,  there  is  none  of  respect  in,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  In  a  letter  dated  May  5,  1783  (to  which  the  above  letter  is  a  reply)  Ver- 
gennes  wrote :  — 

"  I  have  received  the  two  letters  of  yesterday  and  to-day,  which  you  have 
done  me  the  honour  to  write  to  me,  and  a  copy  of  the  three  articles  discussed 
between  the  Commissioners  of  the  United  States  and  Mr.  Hartley.  You  are 
aware,  that  I  shall  want  a  sufficient  time  to  examine  them  before  submitting  to 
you  the  observations,  which  may  relate  to  our  reciprocal  interests.  Receive, 
in  the  mean  time,  my  sincere  thanks  for  this  communication. 

M I  hope  to  have  the  honour  of  seeing  you  to-morrow  at  Versailles.  I  trust 
you  will  be  able  to  be  present  with  the  foreign  ministers.  It  is  observed,  that 
the  Commissioners  from  the  United  States  rarely  show  themselves  here,  and 
inferences  are  drawn  from  it,  which  I  am  sure  their  constituents  would  dis- 
avow, if  they  had  a  knowledge  of  them.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

"  DE  VERGENNES."  —  ED. 


40        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

1413.    TO   DAVID  HARTLEY      (p.  R.  o.) 

Passy,  May  8,  1783. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  send  you  enclosed  the  copies  you  desired  of  the  papers  I 
read  to  you  yesterday.1  I  should  be  happy  if  I  could  see, 
before  I  die,  the  proposed  improvement  of  the  law  of  nations 
established.  The  miseries  of  mankind  would  be  diminished 
by  it,  and  the  happiness  of  millions  secured  and  promoted.  If 
the  practice  of  privateering  could  be  profitable  to  any  civilized 
nation,  it  might  be  so  to  us  Americans ;  since  we  are  so  situ- 
ated on  the  globe,  as  that  the  rich  commerce  of  Europe  with 
the  West  Indies,  consisting  of  manufactures,  sugars,  &c.,  is 
obliged  to  pass  before  our  doors,  which  enables  us  to  make 
short  and  cheap  cruises,  while  our  own  commerce  is  in  such 
bulky,  low-priced  articles,  as  that  ten  of  our  ships  taken  by 
you  are  not  equal  in  value  to  one  of  yours,  and  you  must  come 
far  from  home,  at  a  great  expense,  to  look  for  them.  I  hope, 
therefore,  that  this  proposition,  if  made  by  us,  will  appear 
in  its  true  light,  as  having  humanity  only  for  its  motive. 
I  do  not  wish  to  see  a  new  Barbary  rising  in  America,  and 
our  long  extended  coast  occupied  by  piratical  states.  I  fear, 
lest  our  privateering  success  in  the  two  last  wars  should 
already  have  given  our  people  too  strong  a  relish  for  that  most 
mischievous  kind  of  gaming,  mixed  blood ;  and,  if  a  stop  is 
not  now  put  to  the  practice,  mankind  may  hereafter  be  more 
plagued  with  American  corsairs,  than  they  have  been  and 
are  with  the  Turkish.  Try,  my  friend,  what  you  can  do, 
in  procuring  for  your  nation  the  glory  of  being,  though  the 

1  See  the  Article  about  privateering,  to  R.  Oswald,  January  14, 1783.  — ED. 


1783]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  41 

greatest  naval  power,  the  first  who  voluntarily  relinquished 
the  advantage  that  power  seems  to  give  them,  of  plundering 
others,  and  thereby  impeding  the  mutual  communications 
among  men  of  the  gifts  of  God,  and  rendering  miserable  mul- 
titudes of  merchants  and  their  families,  artisans,  and  culti- 
vators of  the  earth,  the  most  peaceable  and  innocent  part  of 
the  human  species.  With  great  esteem  and  affection,  I  am 

ever,  my  dear  friend,  yours  most  sincerely, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1414.    TO   JAN   INGENHOUSZ          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  16,  1783. 

DEAR  FRIEND  :  —  I  have  before  me  your  three  Favours  of 
Feb  26,  April  8  and  29,*  the  last  delivered  to  me  yesterday  by 
Mr.  Robertson,  to  whom  I  shall  show  the  Respect  due  to 
your  Recommendation.3  I  am  asham'd  of  being  so  long  in 
Arrear  in  my  Correspondence  with  you,  but  I  have  too  much 
Business.  I  will  now  endeavour  to  answer  your  Letters, 
and  hope  I  may  be  able  to  do  it  without  Interruption. 

I  never  received  the  Letter  you  mention,  wherein  you  asked 
my  leave  to  dedicate  your  Book  to  me.  I  should  immediately 
have  given  my  Consent,  esteeming  it  a  great  honour  to  be  so 
remembred  by  you,  and  handed  down  to  Posterity  as  having 
your  Friendship.  The  Cast  of  your  Profile  came  safe  to  hand, 

1  These  letters  are  all  in  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 

2  "  The  bearer  of  this,  Mr.  James  Robertson,  being  arrived  at  Paris  from  a 
tour  thro  Italie,  after  having  spent  some  time  in  Vienna,  where  he  followed  my 
experiments  and  became  one  of  my  friends,  has  begged  the  favour  of  me  to 
send  him  an  introductory  letter  to  you."  —  Ingenhousz  to  Franklin,  April  29, 
1783.  — ED. 


42         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

and  gives  me  Pleasure,  as  I  think  it  very  like.  Pray  what  is 
the  Composition? 

My  Journey  to  Italy,  and  thence  to  Vienna,  is  yet  an  Un- 
certainty. I  thank  you  however  for  your  kind  Advice  re- 
specting the  Conduct  of  it.1 

I  have  long  since  been  tired  of  the  Acquaintance  and  cor- 
respondence of  Mr.  V. ; 2  having  but  a  small  Remnant  left  of 
Life,  I  cannot  afford  to  attend  to  his  endless  Discourse  and 
numerous  long  Letters,  and  visionary  Projects.  He  wants 
to  be  employed  in  our  Affairs,  but  he  manages  his  own  so 
badly  that  one  can  have  but  little  Confidence  in  his  Prudence. 
I  pity  him  however,  tho'  I  see  no  possible  means  of  serving 
him. 

I  thank  you  for  the  friendly  Congratulations  on  the  Peace, 
and  Cautions  respecting  our  future  Conduct ;  they  are  good 
and  wise.3 

Mr.  Wharton's  Treatment  of  you  gives  me  pain.  He 
never  writes  to  me.  I  forget  whether  I  have  already  sent  you 
the  Extract  of  his  Letter  to  Dr.  Bancroft,  so  I  enclose  a 
Copy.  I  enclose  also  a  part  of  a  Philadelphia  Newspaper, 
by  which  you  will  see  that  your  Name  and  Writings  are 
already  known  in  our  Country.  With  regard  to  your  Prop- 


1  Ingenhousz  advised  Franklin  to  go  to  Italy  through  Austria  "  because 
from  Vienna  to  the  Venetian  territory  you  have  not  a  single  difficult  or  dan- 
gerous road."     He  also  advised  a  broad  Italian  carriage,  —  "  the  French  car- 
riages are  in  general  too  narrow,  and  the  English  too  low."  —  ED. 

2  Rudolph  Valltravers,  an  impecunious  gentleman  of  Vienna  who  wrote 
interminable  letters  to  Franklin,  and  constantly  solicited  his  aid  and  favour  in 
obtaining  some  position  in  Europe  or  America.  —  ED. 

3  "  Now  you  are  a  free  and  independent  people,  you  ought  to  be  mindfull  of 
the  old   proverb,  felix  quam  faciunt  aliena  pericula  cautent  !   and  prevent 
disunion  among  yourselves.    You  have  had  open  enemies,  now  you  will  have 
inobservable  ones."  —  Ingenhousz,  Feb.  26,  1783.  — ED. 


1783]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  43 

erty  in  the  Public  Funds,  I  have  no  doubt  of  its  being  secure 
according  to  the  Value  it  had  when  it  was  plac'd  there,  but 
I  can  say  nothing  as  to  the  particulars  of  its  Situation  or 
Amount;  Mr.  Williams  can  better  inform  you.  I  have  re- 
quested him  to  do  it. 

It  is  long  since  I  have  seen  M.  Le  Begue.1  He  is  much 
in  the  Country.  I  have  heard  nothing  of  the  Printing  of 
your  Book. 

Your  Experiment  of  burning  the  Wire  has  been  made  here 
with  the  greatest  Success.  My  grandson  had  it  try'd  at  Mr. 
Charles'  Lecture,  where  it  gave  great  Satisfaction  &  was  much 
admir'd. 

I  have  not  yet  found  Leisure  to  explain  the  Fireplace,  but 
hope  for  it,  when  I  am  quit  of  my  present  Station. 

I  have  been,  as  you  know,  so  little  in  America  for  these  last 
25  Years,  that  I  am  unqualified  to  answer  the  Request  of  Mr. 
Veinbrenner  concerning  the  Names  and  Solidity  of  Houses 
there.2 

A  new  Set  of  Merchants  have  grown  up  into  Business,  of 
whom  I  know  nothing ;  and  the  Circumstances  of  the  old  ones 
whom  I  formerly  knew  may  have  been  much  altered  by  Time, 
or  by  the  War.  It  is  besides,  an  invidious  &  dangerous 
Thing  for  me  to  give  such  a  distinguishing  List,  if  I  were  able 
to  do  it.  My  best  Advice  to  your  Commercial  People  is,  to 
send  over  a  discreet,  intelligent  Person,  with  instructions  to 

1  Achille-Guillaume  le  Begue  de  Presles  (1735-1807),  Rousseau's  physician 
and  friend,  had  been  requested  by  Ingenhousz  to  superintend  the  publication 
of  his  book  in  Paris,  but  he  had  not  replied  for  a  long  time  to  any  of  Ingen- 
housz's  letters.  —  ED. 

2  M.  Veinbrenner,  by  order  of  Prince  Kaunitz,  first  minister  of  state,  had 
written   to  Franklin  for  information  about  "  the  solidity  of  merchants  in 
America."  —  ED. 


44         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

travel  thro'  the  Country,  observe  the  Nature  of  the  Commerce, 
find  out  what  of  your  Commodities  are  wanted  there,  and  in 
what  Quantities  &  Proportions ;  &  what  of  the  Produce  of  the 
Country  can  be  purchased  to  make  advantageous  Returns. 
Such  a  Man  on  the  Spot  may  obtain  better  Informations  of 
Characters  than  I  can  possibly  give,  and  may  make  the 
Connections  desired  with  those  that  he  finds  to  merit  Con- 
fidence. If  your  People  should  think  fit  to  take  this  Step,  I 
will  give  Letters  of  Recommendation  introductory  of  the 
Person,  and  which  may  be  useful  to  their  Design.  Please 
to  acquaint  Mr.  Veinbrenner  of  this,  presenting  my  respects. 
I  have  already  given  such  Letters  at  [mutilated]  have  received 
no  intimation,  except  from  you,  that  a  Proposition  for  such  a 
Treaty  would  be  acceptable  to  His  Imperial  Majesty.1  I 
shall  however  venture  to  propose  it  to  the  Ambassador  when 
I  request  his  forwarding  to  you  this  Letter.  The  Commodi- 
ties you  mention  as  Productions  of  the  Emperor's  Dominions 
are  all  wanted  in  America,  and  will  sell  there  to  Advantage.2 

I  will  send  you  another  Piece  of  the  Soap  you  mention 
when  I  can  have  a  good  Opportunity.  I  now  send  you  one 
of  the  Medals  I  have  caused  to  be  struck  here,  which  has  the 
good  Luck  to  be  much  approved.  [Mutilated,  part  of  draft 
cut  off.] 

With  regard  to  the  Statuary 8  you  mention,  I  hardly  think 

1  A  commercial  treaty.  —  ED. 

2  "  The  articles  of  exportation  from  this  country  are  chiefly  copper,  steel, 
mercury,  and  glass  as  fine  as  English.     Hungarian  wines  begin  also  to  be  an 
object.    From  the  low  countries  the  chief  exporting  objects  are  lace  and  lin- 
nens."— Ingenhousz,  April  8,  1783.  —  ED. 

8  Giuseppi  Ceracchi  of  Rome.  Count  Lacy,  "  the  greatest  favorite  of  the 
Emperour,"  requested  Ingenhousz  to  ask  Franklin  whether  Ceracchi  "  should 
goe  over  to  America  in  expectation  of  being  employed  in  erecting  or  making 
marmor  and  such  like  monuments.  .  .  .  Marechal  Lacy  added,  that,  in  case 


1783]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  45 

it  can  be  worth  his  while  at  present  to  go  to  America  hi  Ex- 
pectation of  being  employ'd  there.  Private  Persons  are  not 
rich  enough  to  encourage  sufficiently  the  fine  Arts  ;  and 
therefore  our  Geniuses  all  go  to  Europe.  In  England  at 
present,  the  best  History  Painter,  West;  the  best  Portrait 
Painter,  Copley;  and  the  best  Landscape  Painter,  Taylor, 
at  Bath,  are  all  Americans.  And  the  Public  being  burthen'd 
by  its  War  Debts,  will  certainly  think  of  paying  them  before 
it  goes  into  the  Expence  of  Marble  Monuments.  He  might, 
indeed,  as  you  hint,  be  easily  paid  in  Land,  but  Land  will 
produce  him  nothing  without  Labour ;  and  he  and  his  Work- 
men must  [incomplete]. 

after  a  few  years  such  an  Artist  may  find  Employment; 
and  possibly  we  may  discover  a  white  Marble. 

I  am  glad  you  have  made  the  experiments  you  mention, 
and  with  success.  You  will  find  that  the  holes  are  not  made 
by  the  impulse  of  the  fluid  moving  in  certain  directions, 
but  by  circumstances  of  explosion  of  parts  of  the  matter; 
and  I  still  think  my  explanation  of  the  holes  in  the  vane 
probable,  viz.  that  it  was  the  explosion  of  tin  against  parts 
of  the  copper  plate  that  were  almost  in  a  state  of  fusion,  and 
therefore  easily  burst  through  either  on  one  side  or  the  other, 
as  it  happened.  The  bursting  of  the  twelve  bottles  all  at 
once,  I  take  to  be  owing  to  small  bubbles  in  the  substance 
of  the  glass,  or  grains  of  sand,  into  which  a  quantity  of  the 
electric  fluid  had  been  forced  and  compressed  while  the  bottles 


there  was  a  prospect  of  finding  employment  there,  and  money  should  be  scarce, 
gouvernment  could  grant  him  land." —  Ingenhousz,  April  29,  1 783.  This  is  the 
only  reference  made  by  Franklin  to  Ceracchi,  who  has  long  been  credited  with 
the  making  of  the  bust  of  Franklin  which  is  now  known  to  have  been  the 
work  of  Caffieri.  —  ED. 


46         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

were  charging;  and  when  the  pressure  was  suddenly  taken 
off  by  discharging  the  bottles,  that  confined  portion  by  its 
elastic  force  expanding  caused  the  breach.  My  reasons  for 
thinking,  that  the  charge  did  not  pass  by  those  holes  you  will 
find  in  a  former  letter;  and  I  think  you  will  always  find,  that 
the  coating  within  and  without  is  forced  both  ways  by  the 

explosion  of  these  bubbles. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


141 S.  RECOMMENDATION  OF  A  GALLEY  SLAVE 

(A.    P.    S.) 
Passy,  May  22.  1783 

SIR, 

The  Bearer  Pierre  Andre*  Gargaz  is  Author  of  a  very 
humane  Project  for  establishing  a  perpetual  Peace.  This 
has  interested  me  much  in  his  Behalf.  He  appears  to  me  a 
very  honest  sensible  Man,  &  worthy  of  better  Fortune:  — 
For  tho'  his  Project  may  appear  in  some  respects  chimerical, 
there  is  Merit  hi  so  good  an  Intention.  He  has  serv'd  faith- 
fully 20  Years  as  a  Galley-Slave,  and  now  requests  Letters 
of  Rehabilitation,  that  he  may  enjoy  for  the  Rest  of  his  Life 
the  Douceurs  that  State  would  be  attended  with:  If  this 
Request  of  his  is  not  improper,  &  you  can  assist  him  in  pro- 
curing such  Letters  You  will  do  me  a  most  sensible  Pleasure. 
He  will  show  you  authentic  Certificates  of  his  good  Conduct. 
With  great  Esteem,  I  have  the  honour  to  be, 

Sir, 

[B.  FRANKLIN.] 

[To  whom  it  may  Concern.] 


1783]  TO  PHILIPPE-DENIS  PIERRES  47 

1416.  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES     (p.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  May  23,  1783 

SIR  :  —  I  beg  leave  to  recommend  earnestly  to  your  Ex- 
cellency's attention  the  enclosed  petition  and  papers  from 
Mr.  Price,  an  honest,  worthy  American,  who  was  to  my  knowl- 
edge very  serviceable  to  our  army  in  Canada,  and  much 
esteemed  by  the  Congress.  I  shall  be  very  thankful  if  you 
can  procure  for  him  the  order  he  desires.  With  great  respect, 
I  am,  sir,  your  Excellency's  most  obedient  and  most  humble 
servant,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1417.  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES     (p.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  June  3,  1783 

SIR  :  —  Having  long  known  Mr.  Williams  to  be  a  very 
just  man  in  all  his  transactions,  I  hope  the  favour  he  re- 
quests of  a  surse'ance  may  be  granted  to  him,  being  con- 
fident that  it  will  be  employed  to  the  complete  satisfaction 
of  his  creditors.  I  therefore  earnestly  pray  your  Excellency 
to  obtain  it  for  him.  With  great  respect,  I  am,  sir,  your 
Excellency's  most  obedient  and  most  humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1418.  TO   PHILIPPE-DENIS   PIERRES1      (A.  p.  s.) 
gm  Passy,  June  10,  1783. 

I  received  the  Exemplaire  of  the  Constitutions.  I  in- 
tended to  have  waited  on  M.  le  Garde  des  Sceaux  yesterday, 

1  This  celebrated  printer  of  Versailles,  a  member  of  the  Academies  of  Dijon, 


48         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

at  Versailles,  but  was  prevented.  I  shall  write  to  him  to-day. 
The  Ratification  of  the  Swedish  Treaty  is  arrived,  so  that 
there  is  no  farther  Obstruction  to  the  Publication.  I  desire 
to  have  50  of  the  8vos  bound  in  Calf  and  letter'd,  and  50 
half  bound,  that  is,  between  Pasteboards  with  a  Sheepskin 
Back,  and  Letter'd,  but  not  cut.  I  desire  also  6  of  the  4tos 
copies  bound  in  Morocco.  I  am,  with  great  esteem,  Sir,  &c. 

B.    FRANKLIN.1 

Lyons,  Rouen,  and  Orleans,  died  at  Dijon,  February  28,  1808,  at  the  age  of 
sixty-eight.    At  Franklin's  request  he  instructed  B.  F.  Bache  in  the  principles 
of  typography.     He  left  an  unfinished  work,  "  L'Art  de  1'Imprimerie."  —  ED. 
1  Pierres  wrote  to  Franklin,  June  27,  1783  (A.  P.  S.),  as  follows :  — 

"  MONSIEUR, 

"  Vous  devez  8tre  etonne  sans  doute  de  ne  point  recevoir  de  ma  part  les 
exemplaires  des  Constitutions  de  1'Amerique  que  je  vous  ai  promis  le  20  du 
courant,  jour  que  j'ai  eu  1'honneur  de  vous  voir. 

"  En  vous  quittant  j'ai  etc  chez  M.  de  Neville.  On  m'a  montre  le  nouvel 
embargo  mis  sur  cet  ouvrage;  c'est  une  note  que  M.  le  Garde  des  Sceaux  a 
ecrite  a  cote  de  la  permission,  la  voici :  *  a  condition  que  1'ouvrage  passera 
encore  sous  les  yeux  de  M.  le  Comte  de  Vergennes  avant  d'Stre  distribu6.' 
On  m'a  dit  qu'il  etoit  a  propos  que  j'en  envoyasse  un  exemplaire  a  M.  le  Comte 
de  Vergennes,  c'est  ce  que  j'ai  fait  en  rentrant  chez  moi :  j'y  ai  joint  la  lettre 
dont  je  vous  envoie  copie.  J'attends  la  reponse  de  ce  Ministre  pour  la  faire 
passer  aussitfit  a  M.  le  Garde  des  Sceaux  qui  1'enverra  a  M.  de  Neville,  pour 
enfin  apr£s  tout  cela  m'autoriser  a  faire  la  distribution. 

"  Vous  voyez,  Monsieur,  que  Paris  ne  ressemble  point  du  tout  a  Philadel- 
phie  et  qui'il  nous  faudrait  ici  un  second  Franklin,  s'il  pouvoit  en  exister  deux, 
pour  nous  delivrer  de  toutes  ces  entraves,  entraves  que  je  ne  puis  ni  ne  dois  con- 
damner,  puisque  je  suis  citoyen. 

"  Cela  ne  m'emp&che  pas,  Monsieur,  de  faire  en  attendant  relier  et  brocher 
et  je  serois  en  etat  actuellement  de  vous  livrer  tous  vos  exemplaires,  si  les 
reglements  auxquels  je  suis  assujetti  m'en  donnoient  la  liberte.  Aussitdt  que 
je  serai  de"gage  de  toutes  les  entraves  que  je  viens  de  vous  detailler,  j'aurai 
Vhonneur  de  vous  en  faire  part. 

"  Je  suis  avec  un  profond  respect,  Monsieur, 

"  Votre  tres  humble  et 
"  tres  obeissant  serviteur 
(Signed)  "  PIERRES." 

—  ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.   LIVINGSTON'  49 

1419.    TO   ROBERT  R.   LIVINGSTON    (D.  s.  w.) 

Passy,  June  12,  1783. 
SIR, 

I  wrote  to  you  fully  by  a  vessel  from  Nantes,  which  I  hope 
will  reach  you  before  this.  If  not,  this  may  inform  you, 
that  the  ratification  of  the  treaty  with  Sweden  is  come,  and 
ready  to  be  exchanged  when  I  shall  receive  that  from  Con- 
gress; that  the  treaty  with  Denmark  is  going  on,  and  will 
probably  be  ready  before  the  commission  for  signing  it 
arrives  from  Congress.  It  is  on  the  plan  of  that  proposed 
by  Congress  for  Sweden. 

Portugal  has  likewise  proposed  to  treat  with  us,  and  the 
ambassador  has  earnestly  urged  me  to  give  him  a  plan  for 
the  consideration  of  his  court,  which  I  have  accordingly 
done,  and  he  has  forwarded  it.  The  Congress  will  send  com- 
missions and  instructions  for  concluding  these  treaties  to 
whom  they  may  think  proper ;  it  is  only  upon  the  old  authority, 
given,  by  a  resolution,  to  myself  with  Messrs.  Deane  and 
Lee,  to  treat  with  any  European  powers,  that  I  have  ven- 
tured to  begin  these  treaties  in  consequence  of  overtures  from 
those  crowns. 

The  definitive  treaty  with  England  is  not  yet  concluded, 
their  ministry  being  unsettled  in  their  minds  as  to  the  terms 
of  the  commercial  part;  nor  is  any  other  definitive  treaty 
yet  completed  here,  nor  even  the  preliminaries  signed  of 
one  between  England  and  Holland.  It  is  now  five  months 
since  we  have  had  a  line  from  you,  the  last  being  dated  the 
i3th  of  January;  of  course  we  know  nothing  of  the  reception 

VOL.  IX  —  E 


So        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

of  the  Preliminary  Articles,  or  the  opinion  of  Congress 
respecting  them.  We  hoped  to  receive  before  this  time  such 
instructions  as  might  have  been  thought  proper  to  be  sent 
to  us  for  rendering  more  perfect  the  definitive  treaty.  We 
know  nothing  of  what  has  been  approved  or  disapproved. 
We  are  totally  in  the  dark,  and  therefore,  less  pressing  to 
conclude,  being  still  (as  we  have  long  been)  in  daily  expecta- 
tion of  hearing  from  you.  By  chance  only,  we  learn  that 
Barney  is  arrived,  by  whom  went  the  despatches  of  the  Com- 
missioners, and  a  considerable  sum  of  money.  No  acknowl- 
edgment of  the  receipt  of  that  money  is  yet  come  to  hand, 
either  to  me  or  M.  Grand.  I  make  no  doubt  that  both  you 
and  Mr.  Morris  have  written,  and  I  cannot  imagine  what 
has  become  of  your  letters.  With  great  esteem,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  I  beg  leave  to  recommend  to  your  civilities  the 
bearer  of  this,  Dr.  Bancroft,  whom  you  will  find  a  very  in- 
telligent, sensible  man,  well  acquainted  with  the  state  of 
affairs  here,  and  who  has  heretofore  been  employed  in  the 
service  of  Congress.  I  have  long  known  him,  and  esteem 
him  highly. 


1420.    TO   PRINCE   DES   DEUXPONTS     (A.  p.  s.) 

June  14  1783 

WITHOUT  Information  what  are  the  Productions  &  Manu- 
factures of  the  Palatinate  &  of  Bavaria  and  their  Prices  of 
which  M1  Franklin  is  totally  ignorant,  it  is  impossible  for 
him  to  say  what  of  them  will  be  proper  for  a  Commerce  with 


1783]  TO  PRINCE  DBS  DEUX  FONTS  51 

the  United  States  of  America.  He  can  only  answer  in  gen- 
eral, that  America  purchases  from  Europe  all  kinds  of 
Woolens  &  Linnens  warp  &  fine  proper  for  Clothing  of 
Men  &  Women ;  with  a  variety  of  Iron  &  Steele  Manufactures. 
And  she  pays  in  Tobacco,  Rice,  Indigo,  Bills  of  Exchange  or 
Money.  If  the  Electorates  above  mentioned,  can  furnish 
any  of  those  Manufactures  cheaper  than  France,  Holland,  or 
England,  they  may  thereby  obtain  a  Share  of  the  American 
Commerce.  But  it  will  be  prudent  for  the  Merchants  to 
send  a  discreet  intelligent  Man  with  a  small  Cargo  of  Samples 
of  all  their  kinds  of  Goods,  in  order  to  obtain  a  thorough 
Knowledge  of  the  Nature  of  the  Commerce  in  that  Country, 
and  of  the  Kinds  of  Goods  &  proportions  of  their  Quanti- 
ties, that  are  most  in  demand  there,  before  they  hazard  the 
making  of  large  Adventures.  —  There  is  no  doubt  but  that 
the  Commerce  of  the  German  States  will  be  favourably  re- 
ceiv'd  in  America,  where  a  great  many  People  of  that  Nation 
are  established.  MT  F.  will  give  it  all  the  Encouragement 
that  can  be  expected  of  him;  but  he  cannot  take  upon  him 
to  point  out  and  name  as  he  has  been  desired  the  most  Solid 
Houses  of  Commerce  there,  having  been  long  absent  from 
that  Country,  and  the  War  having  probably  made  a  Change 
in  the  Circumstances  of  many.1 

1  The  above  letter  was  written  by  Franklin  in  lead  pencil  upon  the  back  of 
the  following  note  addressed  to  him  by  M.  le  Prince  des  Deuxponts  :  — 

"  M.  le  Prince  des  Deuxponts  s'est  deja  adresse  a  Monsieur  Franklin  pour 
savoir  si  PElectorat  Palatin  et  le  Duche  de  Baviere  pourroient  entrer  en  liaison 
de  commerce  avec  les  treize  Etats  unis  de  1'Amerique.  Mais  n'en  ayant  obtenu 
qu'une  reponse  trop  vague  pour  £tre  transmise  \  ses  commettans,  il  le  prie 
tres  instamment  de  vouloir  bien  lui  specifier  par  ecrit  quelles  seroient  les  pro- 
ductions et  les  objets  d'industrie  qui  pourroient  le  plus  aisement  donner  de  la 
consistance  a  ce  projet  et  le  faire  prosperer.  II  insiste  sur  ,cette  reponse 
parce  qu'on  la  lui  demande  et  il  se  flatte  que  Monsieur  Franklin  verra  d'un 


THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 


1421.     ON  THE  SHOCK  BY  THE  ELECTRIC  BOT- 
TLE, AND  THE  DENSITY  OF  GLASS  1    (L.  c.) 

Passy,  June  14,  1783. 
SIR, 

I  received  some  time  since  the  letter  you  honoured  me 
with,  containing  your  hypothesis  for  explaining  the  shock 
given  by  the  electric  bottle,  on  which  you  seem  to  desire  my 
opinion.  It  is  many  years  since  I  was  engaged  in  those 
pleasing  studies,  and  my  mind  is  at  present  too  much  occu- 
pied with  other  and  more  important  affairs  to  permit  my 
returning  to  them.  I  cannot  therefore  examine  your  in- 
genious hypothesis  with  the  attention  it  appears  to  merit. 
You  will  find  in  a  letter  of  mine  to  Dr.  Lining,  dated  March 
1 8th,  1755,  that  I  abandoned  my  hypothesis  of  the  greater 
density  of  glass  in  the  middle  than  near  its  surfaces,  as  con- 
tributing to  produce  the  effect,  because  I  found  the  effect  to 
be  the  same  after  I  had  ground  that  part  away. 

And  I  think  you  might  likewise  try  yours  by  an  easy  ex- 
periment. Take  a  plate  of  lead  twelve  inches  square ;  cover 
one  of  its  sides  with  a  coat  of  bees'  wax,  about  one  line  thick; 
upon  that  apply  closely  a  thin  plate  of  lead  eight  inches 
square,  so  as  to  leave  a  margin  of  two  inches  all  round. 
Electrify  this  composition  of  lead  and  wax,  and  try  if  you  can 

ceil  favorable  1'empressement  que  temoignent  plusieurs  Etats  de  1'Allemagne 
d'avoir  des  rapports  avec  une  nouvelle  puissance  qui  est  en  tres  grande 
partie  son  ouvrage. 

"  Paris,  le  14  Juin  1783." 

Charles,  Prince  des  Deuxponts,  elder  brother  of  King  Maximilian  of  Bavaria, 
was  the  nephew  of  Duke  Christian  of  Zweibriick,  who  was  the  husband  of 
Franklin's  esteemed  friend  Madame  de  Forbach.  —  ED. 

1  It  is  not  known  to  whom  this  letter  was  written. —  ED. 


1783]  TO  BARON  DE  STAEL  53 

receive  a  shock  from  it ;  if  not,  you  may  draw  thence  a  fur- 
ther argument  to  support  your  hypothesis,  because  the  wax, 
though  a  non-conductor,  is  not  elastic,  any  more  than  pure 
lead.  I  see  you  are  endowed  with  a  genius  for  the  study  of 
nature;  and  I  would  recommend  it  to  you  to  employ  your 
time  rather  in  making  experiments,  than  in  making  hypoth- 
eses and  forming  imaginary  systems,  which  we  are  all  too 
apt  to  please  ourselves  with,  till  some  experiment  comes  and 
unluckily  destroys  them.  Wishing  you  success  in  your  in- 
quiries, I  have  the  honour  to  be,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1422.     TO   BARON   DE  STAEL       (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  le  16  Juin  1783 

MONSIEUR, 

J'ai  ref  u  la  Lettre  que  votre  Excellence  m'a  fait  1'honneur 
de  m'ecrire  le  13  de  ce  Mois,  pour  me  faire  Part  que  vous 
avez  re£u  de  votre  Cour  la  Ratification  du  Traite*  conclu 
entre  nos  deux  Nations:  J'attens  de  Jour  en  Jour  la  Rati- 
fication du  Congres,  J  des  que  je  1'aurai  refue  je  m'  empres- 
serai  de  vous  en  faire  Part,  a  fin  que  nous  puissions  faire  les 
Echanges  reciproques. 

Le  Desir  que  temoigne  sa  Majeste*  Swedoise,  (et  dont  M* 
le  Ctc  de  Creutz  votre  Predecesseur,  m'avez  instruit  avant 
son  depart)  d'avoir  pour  resider  aupres  d'Elle,  de  la  Part  des 
Etats  Unis,  quelqu'un  qui  porte  mon  Nom,  m'honore  et 
me  flatte  infiniement;  ainsi  que  les  Termes  obligeants  dont 
vous  vous  etes  servis  pour  me  rapeller  cet  desir.  —  Je  m'em- 
presserai  de  le  faire  connoitre  au  Congres,  et  je  ne  doute 
pas  que  £e  Corps  ne  se  prete  a  faire  tous  ce  qui  peut  etre 


54        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

agreable  a  un  Souverain  pour  qui  ils  ont  tant  d'estime, 
J  qui  a  etc*  le  premier  de  1'Europe  a  nous  offrir  son  Amide*. 

J'ai  1'honneur  d'etre  une  respectueuse  Consideration  et 
un  sincere  attachement,  de  Votre  Excellence 
Le  tres  humble  et  tres  obeissant 
serviteur 

[B.   FRANKLIN.]1 


1423.    TO  CAPTAIN   NATHANIEL   FALCONER2 

(P.  H.  S.) 
Passy,  June  18.  1783 

DEAR  FRIEND 

I  received  your  kind  Letters  of  May  15.  and  June  y.3 
and  was  very  glad  to  hear  of  your  Welfare  and  safe  Arrival 
in  England.  —  I  wish  you  much  Success  in  entring  again 
upon  your  old  Occupation,  and  should  be  happy  if  I  could 

1  This  letter  was  in  reply  to  the  following :  — 

"Paris,  June  13,  1783. 
"  SIR, 

"  I  have  just  received  his  Majesty's  ratification  of  the  treaty  of  commerce 
concluded  with  the  United  States,  which  I  shall  have  the  honour  to  send  you 
as  soon  as  it  can  be  exchanged  for  the  one  from  Congress. 

"  Permit  me,  Sir,  on  this  occasion  to  repeat  the  request,  which  the  ambas- 
sador has  made  you,  respecting  Mr.  Franklin,  your  grandson.  He  had  the 
honour  to  tell  you,  that  it  would  afford  the  King  a  pleasure  to  have  a  person 
residing  with  him,  in  the  capacity  of  the  minister  of  Congress,  who  bears  your 
name  in  conjunction  with  such  estimable  qualifications  as  young  Mr.  Franklin 
possesses.  He  charged  me  before  he  departed,  to  repeat  to  you  the  same 
assurances,  and  you  will  allow  me  to  add,  on  my  part,  my  best  wishes  for  the 
success  of  this  matter.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

"  LE  BARON  DE  STAEL." 

Eric-Magnus,  Baron  de  Stael-Holstein  (1749-1802),  was  newly  accredited 
Swedish  ambassador  to  France  at  the  time  of  the  writing  of  this  letter.  Three 
years  later  he  married  the  daughter  of  M.  Necker.  —  ED. 

2  The  trans,  of  this  letter  in  P.  H.  S.  is  endorsed  "  copied  from  the  original 
in  possession  of  Peter  Thompson  of  Philad»."  —  ED. 

8  These  letters  are  in  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 


1783]          TO  CAPTAIN  NATHANIEL  FALCONER  55 

be  ready  to  return  in  a  ship  under  your  Care.  But  I  have 
not  yet  receiv'd  the  Permission  I  requested  from  Congress, 
nor  do  I  know  anything  of  their  Intentions  respecting  me  or 
my  Grandson,  having  no  Letter  later  than  the  i3th  of  Janu- 
ary. I  am  surpriz'd  they  did  not  take  the  opportunity  of 
writing  by  you.  We  are  here  totally  in  the  Dark  as  to  their 
Opinion  of  the  Preliminary  Articles  of  the  Peace,  which  we 
sent  by  Capt.  Barney  in  the  Washington ;  who  sail'd  from 
L'Orient  the  iyth  of  January,  and  carried  with  our  Dis- 
patches a  large  Sum  of  Money;  we  have  not  so  much  as 
heard  with  Certainty  of  his  Arrival.  I  beg  you  will  give 
me  what  Information  you  can  of  these  Particulars  and  any 
others  that  you  may  think  interesting  to  me  and  mine.  Is 
it  true  that  Mr  Morris  has  resigned  his  Office,  and  that  the 
Constitution  of  Pensilvania  is  to  be  altered  in  October? 
Was  any  one  appointed  to  succeed  me  here,  or  who  was  in- 
tended? I  never  long'd  so  much  to  be  at  home,  and  am 
afraid  that  if  my  Discharge  is  delay'd  I  shall  be  oblig'd  to 
stay  here  another  Winter.— 

I  am  glad  to  hear  from  you  of  the  Welfare  of  my  old  Friends 
MT.  Jackson  and  MF.  Watley.1  If  you  see  them  again,  please 
to  present  my  best  Respects  to  them.  I  have  still  a  regard 
for  Mf.  Strahan  in  remembrance  of  our  ancient  Friendship, 
tho'  he  has  as  a  Member  of  Parliament  dipt  his  Hands  in 
our  Blood.  He  was  always  as  credulous  as  you  find  him.2 

1  Captain  Falconer  dined  June  6,  1783,  with  Richard  Jackson  and  George 
Whatley,  at  the  Post  Office.  —  ED. 

a  "  I  have  been  over  to  your  old  friends  Mr.  Strawns  and  find  him  just  the 
same  man,  believes  every  Ly  he  hears  against  the  United  States,  the  French 
army  and  our  Army  have  been  killing  each  other,  and  that  we  shall  be  glad  to 
come  to  this  country  again.  Let  these  Gentlemen  believe  all  this  for  I  am 
very  sure  I  do  not."  (Falconer.)  —  ED. 


S6        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

He  told  me  a  little  before  I  left  London  that  there  was  News 
of  a  Scotch  Sergeant's  having  alone  met  a  party  of  40  Ameri- 
can Soldiers,  disarmed  them,  and  brought  them.  Prisoners 
into  Boston.  This  he  appeared  to  believe,  and  may  there- 
fore well  believe  the  Lie  you  mention  of  the  French  Troops 
&  our  Army  killing  each  other.  His  believing  such  Fals- 
hoods  would  be  Less  consequence,  if  he  did  not  propagate 
them  by  his  Chronicle,  in  the  last  of  which  that  I  have  seen 
there  are  two  lying  letters  said  to  be  from  New  York  of 
April  13  but  actually  fabricated  in  London.  In  refutation 
of  his  story  of  our  quarrelling  &  fighting  with  the  French 
Troops  I  send  you  enclosed  part  of  a  Pennsylvania  Journal 
of  May  7  which  I  wish  you  would  give  to  him,  and  I  doubt 
not  but  he  will  have  the  Candour  to  publish  it.  It  will  there 
appear  authentically  that  the  most  perfect  harmony  sub- 
sisted between  them  to  the  last.  My  Grandson  presents 
his  Respects  to  you,  as  does  Mr  Hartley.  We  are  all  (Thanks 
to  God)  well  &  hearty:  But  I  am  uneasy  about  Barney, 
fearing  he  may  be  lost,  and  therefore  beg  you  would  as  soon 
as  possible  inform  me  if  you  know  anything  of  his  Arrival. 
With  great  and  sincere  Esteem,  I  am  ever,  my  dear  Friend, 

Yours  most  affectionately 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

Tell  me  everything  you  know  about  the  Arrival  &  Recep- 
tion of  the  News  respecting  the  Peace,  and  whether  it  is  true 
that  the  Articles  were  kept  some  time  secret,  &  why;  for 
we  have  received  no  intelligence  from  Government  &  know 
not  what  to  believe  or  think. 

To  Capt.  Nath11  Falconer 
at  the  Pennsylvania  Coffee  House 
Birchin  Lane 
London. 


1783]  TO   COAfTE  DE   VERGENNES  57 

1424.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  '   (p.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  July.  4,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  have  the  honour  to  communicate  to  your  Excellency,  by 
Order  of  Congress,  their  Resolution  of  the  2d  of  May.  It 
will  explain  itself;  and  I  can  add  no  Arguments  to  enforce 
the  Request  it  contains,  which  I  have  not  already  urged  with 
an  Importunity  that  nothing  but  a  Sense  of  Duty  could  oblige 
me  to  use,  when  I  see  so  clearly  that  it  is  painful  to  you  as 
well  as  to  me.  I  confide  also  much  more  in  the  Representa- 
tion M.  de  la  Luzerne  has  probably  made  to  you  on  the  Affair. 
I  will  only  say,  that  from  a  perfect  Knowledge  I  have  of 
their  present  Situation,  no  Favour  of  the  Kind  from  his 
Majesty  could  ever  be  more  essentially  serviceable  to  the 
United  States,  or  make  a  more  lasting  Impression. 

I  send  withal  an  Address  the  Congress  has  just  made  to 
the  several  States,  wherein  you  will  see  the  Steps  they  are 
taking  to  procure  the  necessary  Funds,  for  answering  all 
Engagements;  in  which  I  have  no  doubt  they  will  succeed. 
Your  Excellency  will  also  see  there,  the  Manner  in  which  I 
have  written  on  the  Subject ;  and  you  will  find  that  the  Con- 
tract of  July  last  was  ratified,  and  with  Expressions  of  Grati- 
tude, in  January  last,  tho'  the  Original  Ratification  is  not 
yet  come  to  hand 

With  great  Respect,  I  am,  Sir, 

Your  Excellency's  most 

obedient  and  most  humble  Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  There  is  an  auto,  draft  of  this  letter  in  L.  C.  It  is  printed  by  Bigelow 
but  dated  July  14.  —  ED. 


58        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

1425.    TO   HENRY   LAURENS1          (P.  c.) 

Passy,  July  6,  1783. 

DEAR  SIR, 

We  have  been  honoured  with  several  of  your  Letters, 
and  we  have  talk'd  of  writing  to  you,  but  it  has  been  de- 
layed. I  will  therefore  write  a  few  Lines  in  my  private 
Capacity. 

Our  Negotiations  go  on  slowly,  every  Proposition  being 
sent  to  England,  and  Answers  not  returning  very  speedily. 
Captain  Barney  arrived  here  last  Wednesday,  &  brought 
Dispatches  for  us  as  late  as  the  first  of  June.  The  Prelimi- 
nary Articles  are  ratified.  But  General  Carleton,  in  Vio- 
lation of  those  Articles,  has  sent  away  a  great  number  of 
Negroes,  alleging,  that  Freedom  having  been  promised  them 
by  a  Proclamation,  the  Honour  of  the  Nation  was  con- 
cern'd,  &c.  Probably  another  Reason  may  be,  that,  if  they 
had  been  restor'd  to  their  Masters,  Britain  could  not  have 
hop'd  any  thing  from  such  another  Proclamation  hereafter. 

Mr.  Hartley  calPd  yesterday  to  tell  us,  that  he  had  receiv'd 
a  letter  from  Mr.  Fox,  assuring  him  that  our  Suspicions  of 
affected  Delays  or  Change  of  System  on  their  Side  were 
groundless;  and  that  they  were  sincerely  desirous  to  finish 
as  soon  as  possible.  If  this  be  so,  and  your  health  will  per- 
mit the  Journey,  I  could  wish  your  Return  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible. I  want  you  here  on  many  Accounts,  and  should  be 
glad  of  your  Assistance  in  considering  and  answering  our 
public  Letters.  There  are  Matters  in  them  of  which  I  can- 
not conveniently  give  you  an  Account  at  present.  Nothing 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Simon  Gratz.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.  LIVINGSTON  59 

could  be  more  seasonable  than  Success  in  the  Project  you 
proposed,  but  we  have  now  very  little  expectation.  Please 
to  give  my  love  to  your  valuable  and  amiable  son  and 
daughter,  and  believe  me,  with  sincere  esteem,  and  Affection, 
Dear  Sir,  your  most  obedient  and  most  humble  Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1426.    TO   ROBERT  R.   LIVINGSTON     (L.  c.) 

Passy,  July  22,  1783. 
SIR, 

You  have  complain'd,  sometimes  with  reason,  of  not  hear- 
ing from  your  foreign  Ministers ;  we  have  had  cause  to  make 
the  same  Complaint,  six  full  Months  having  interven'd  be- 
tween the  latest  date  of  your  preceding  Letters  and  the  re- 
ceipt of  those  by  Captain  Barney.  During  all  this  time  we 
were  ignorant  of  the  Reception  of  the  Provisional  Treaty, 
and  the  Sentiments  of  Congress  upon  it,  which,  if  we  had 
received  sooner,  might  have  forwarded  the  Proceedings  on 
the  Definitive  Treaty,  and,  perhaps,  brought  them  to  a  Con- 
clusion at  a  time  more  favourable  than  the  present.  But 
these  occasional  Interruptions  of  Correspondence  are  the  in- 
evitable Consequences  of  a  State  of  War,  and  of  such  remote 
Situations.  Barney  had  a  short  Passage,  and  arrived  some 
Days  before  Colonel  Ogden,  who  also  brought  Dispatches 
from  you,  all  of  which  are  come  safe  to  hand.  We,  the  Com- 
missioners, have  in  our  joint  Capacity  written  a  Letter  to 
you,  which  you  will  receive  with  this. 

I  shall  now  answer  yours  of  March  26,  May  9,  and  May 
3 1.1  It  gave  me  great  Pleasure  to  learn  by  the  first,  that  the 

1  See  "Diplomatic  Correspondence"  (Sparks),  Vol.  IV,  pp.  84, 107, 109.— ED. 


60        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

News  of  the  Peace  diffused  general  Satisfaction.  I  will  not 
now  take  upon  me  to  justify  the  apparent  Reserve,  respect- 
ing this  Court,  at  the  Signature,  which  you  disapprove.  We 
have  touch'd  upon  it  in  our  general  Letter.1  I  do  not  see, 
however,  that  they  have  much  reason  to  complain  of  that 
Transaction.  Nothing  was  stipulated  to  their  Prejudice,  and 
none  of  the  Stipulations  were  to  have  Force,  but  by  a  sub- 
sequent Act  of  their  own.  I  suppose,  indeed,  that  they  have 
not  complain' d  of  it,  or  you  would  have  sent  us  a  Copy  of 
the  Complaint,  that  we  might  have  answer'd  it.  I  long  since 
satisfied  Comte  de  V.  about  it  here.  We  did  what  appear'd 
to  all  of  us  best  at  the  Time,  and,  if  we  have  done  wrong, 
the  Congress  will  do  right,  after  hearing  us,  to  censure  us. 
Their  Nomination  of  Five  Persons  to  the  Service  seems  to 
mark,  that  they  had  some  Dependence  on  our  joint  Judg- 
ment, since  one  alone  could  have  made  a  Treaty  by  Direc- 
tion of  the  French  Ministry  as  well  as  twenty. 

I  will  only  add,  that,  with  respect  to  myself,  neither  the  Let- 
ter from  M.  Marbois,2  handed  us  thro'  the  British  Negocia- 
tors  (a  suspicious  Channel),  nor  the  Conversations  respecting 
the  Fishery,  the  Boundaries,  the  Royalists,  &c.,  recommend- 
ing Moderation  in  our  Demands,  are  of  Weight  sufficient  in 
my  Mind  to  fix  an  Opinion,  that  this  Court  wish'd  to  restrain 
us  in  obtaining  any  Degree  of  Advantage  we  could  prevail 
on  our  Enemies  to  accord ;  since  those  Discourses  are  fairly 
resolvable,  by  supposing  a  very  natural  Apprehension,  that 

1  See  "  Diplomatic  Correspondence"  (Sparks),  Vol.  X.  p.  187.  — ED. 

2  Marquis  de  Barbe-Marbois  (1745-1837),  secretary  of  the  French  legation, 
at   Philadelphia ;    minister   plenipotentiary   in    Germany ;    major   of  Metz ; 
President  of  "Conseil  des  Anciens"  ;    Conseiller  d'Etat;  directeur  in  1801; 
President  of  "Cour  des  Comptes  "  ;  senator  (1813)  ;  garde  des  Sceaux  under 
Louis  XVIII  ;  member  of  the  "  Academie  des  Inscriptions."— ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.   LIVINGSTON  61 

we,  relying  too  much  on  the  Ability  of  France  to  continue  the 
War  in  our  favour,  and  supply  us  constantly  with  Money, 
might  insist  on  more  Advantages  than  the  English  would  be 
willing  to  grant,  and  thereby  lose  the  Opportunity  of  making 
Peace,  so  necessary  to  all  our  Friends. 

I  ought  not,  however,  to  conceal  from  you,  that  one  of  my 
Colleagues  *  is  of  a  very  different  Opinion  from  me  in  these 
Matters.  He  thinks  the  French  Minister  one  of  the  greatest 
Enemies  of  our  Country,  that  he  would  have  straitned  our 
Boundaries,  to  prevent  the  Growth  of  our  People ;  contracted 
our  Fishery,  to  obstruct  the  Increase  of  our  Seamen;  and 
retained  the  Royalists  among  us,  to  keep  us  divided;  that 
he  privately  opposes  all  our  Negociations  with  foreign  Courts, 
and  afforded  us,  during  the  War,  the  Assistance  we  receiv'd, 
only  to  keep  it  alive,  that  we  might  be  so  much  the  more 
weaken 'd  by  it ;  that  to  think  of  Gratitude  to  France  is  the 
greatest  of  Follies,  and  that  to  be  influenced  by  it  would  ruin 
us.  He  makes  no  Secret  of  his  having  these  Opinions,  ex- 
presses them  publicly,  sometimes  in  presence  of  the  English 
Ministers,  and  speaks  of  hundreds  of  Instances  which  he 
could  produce  in  Proof  of  them.  None  of  which  however, 
have  yet  appear'd  to  me,  unless  the  Conversations  and  Letter 
above-mentioned  are  reckoned  such. 

If  I  were  not  convinc'd  of  the  real  Inability  of  this  Court 
to  furnish  the  further  Supplys  we  ask'd,  I  should  suspect  these 
Discourses  of  a  Person  in  his  Station  might  have  influenced 
the  Refusal;  but  I  think  they  have  gone  no  farther  than  to 
occasion  a  Suspicion,  that  we  have  a  considerable  Party  of 
Antigallicans  in  America,  who  are  not  Tories,  and  conse- 
quently to  produce  some  doubts  of  the  Continuance  of  our 

1  John  Adams.  —  ED. 


62        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

Friendship.  As  such  Doubts  may  hereafter  have  a  bad 
Effect,  I  think  we  cannot  take  too  much  care  to  remove  them ; 
and  it  is,  therefore,  I  write  this,  to  put  you  on  your  guard, 
(believing  it  my  duty,  tho'  I  know  that  I  hazard  by  it  a  mortal 
Enmity),  and  to  caution  you  respecting  the  Insinuations  of 
this  Gentleman  against  this  Court,  and  the  Instances  he 
supposes  of  their  ill  will  to  us,  which  I  take  to  be  as  imaginary 
as  I  know  his  Fancies  to  be,  that  Count  de  V.  and  myself  are 
continually  plotting  against  him,  and  employing  the  News- 
Writers  of  Europe  to  depreciate  his  Character,  &c.  But 
as  Shakespear  says,  "Trifles  light  as  Air,"  1  &c.  I  am  per- 
suaded, however,  that  he  means  well  for  his  Country,  is 
always  an  honest  Man,  often  a  wise  one,  but  sometimes,  and 
in  some  things,  absolutely  out  of  his  senses. 

When  the  Commercial  Article,  mentioned  in  yours  of  the 
26th  was  struck  out  of  our  propos'd  Preliminaries  by  the 
then  British  Ministry,  the  reason  given  was,  that  sundry 
Acts  of  Parliament  still  in  force  were  against  it,  and  must 
be  first  repeal'd,  which  I  believe  was  really  their  Intention, 
and  sundry  Bills  were  accordingly  bro't  in  for  that  purpose ; 
but,  new  Ministers  with  different  Principles  succeeding,  a 
commercial  Proclamation  totally  different  from  those  Bills 
has  lately  appeared.  I  send  enclosed  a  Copy  of  it.  We  shall 
try  what  can  be  done  in  the  Definitive  Treaty  towards  setting 
aside  that  Proclamation;  but,  if  it  should  be  persisted  in,  it 
will  then  be  a  Matter  worthy  the  attentive  Discussion  of 
Congress,  whether  it  will  be  most  prudent  to  retort  with  a 
similar  Regulation  in  order  to  force  its  Repeal  (which  may 
possibly  tend  to  bring  on  another  Quarrel),  or  to  let  it  pass 
without  notice,  and  leave  it  to  its  own  Inconvenience,  or 

1  "Othello,"  III,  in,  222.  — ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.  LIVINGSTON  63 

rather  Impracticability,  in  the  Execution,  and  to  the  Com- 
plaints of  the  West  India  Planters,  who  must  all  pay  much 
dearer  for  our  Produce,  under  those  Restrictions. 

I  am  not  enough  Master  of  the  Course  of  our  Commerce 
to  give  an  Opinion  on  this  particular  Question,  and  it  does 
not  behove  me  to  do  it ;  yet  I  have  seen  so  much  Embarrass- 
ment and  so  little  Advantage  in  all  the  Restraining  and  Com- 
pulsive Systems,  that  I  feel  myself  strongly  inclin'd  to  be- 
lieve, that  a  State,  which  leaves  all  her  Ports  open  to  all  the 
World  upon  equal  Terms,  will,  by  that  means,  have  foreign 
Commodities  cheaper,  sell  its  own  Productions  dearer,  and 
be  on  the  whole  the  most  prosperous.  I  have  heard  some 
Merchants  say,  that  there  is  10  per  cent  Difference  between 
Will  you  buy  ?  and  Will  you  sell  ?  When  Foreigners  bring 
us  their  Goods,  they  want  to  part  with  them  speedily,  that  they 
may  purchase  their  Cargoes  and  despatch  their  Ships,  which 
are  at  constant  Charges  in  our  Ports ;  we  have  then  the  Ad- 
vantage of  their  Will  you  buy  ?  And  when  they  demand  our 
Produce,  we  have  the  Advantage  of  their  Will  you  sell? 
And  the  concurring  Demands  of  a  Number  also  contribute 
to  raise  our  Prices.  Thus  both  those  Questions  are  in  our 
favour  at  home,  against  us  abroad. 

The  employing,  however,  of  our  own  Ships  and  raising  a 
Breed  of  Seamen  among  us,  tho'  it  should  not  be  a  matter 
of  so  much  private  Profit  as  some  imagine,  is  nevertheless 
of  political  Importance,  and  must  have  weight  in  consider- 
ing this  Subject. 

The  Judgment  you  make  of  the  Conduct  of  France  in 
the  Peace,  and  the  greater  Glory  acquired  by  her  Moderation 
than  even  by  her  Arms,  appears  to  me  perfectly  just.  The 
Character  of  this  Court  and  Nation  seems,  of  late  years,  to 


64        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

be  considerably  changed.  The  Ideas  of  Aggrandizement  by 
Conquest  are  out  of  fashion,  and  those  of  Commerce  are  more 
enlightened  and  more  generous  than  heretofore.  We  shall 
soon,  I  believe,  feel  something  of  this  in  our  being  admitted 
to  a  greater  Freedom  of  Trade  with  their  Islands.  The  Wise 
here  think  France  great  enough ;  and  its  Ambition  at  present 
seems  to  be  only  that  of  Justice  and  Magnanimity  towards 
other  Nations,  Fidelity  and  Utility  to  its  Allies. 

The  Ambassador  of  Portugal  was  much  pleas'd  with  the 
Proceedings  relating  to  their  Vessel,  which  you  sent  me,  and 
assures  me  they  will  have  a  good  Effect  at  his  Court.  He 
appears  extremely  desirous  of  a  Treaty  with  our  States;  I 
have  accordingly  propos'd  to  him  the  Plan  of  one  (nearly  the 
same  with  that  sent  me  for  Sweden),  and,  after  my  agreeing 
to  some  Alterations,  he  has  sent  it  to  his  Court  for  Approba- 
tion. He  told  me  at  Versailles,  last  Tuesday,  that  he  ex- 
pected its  Return  to  him  on  Saturday  next,  and  anxiously 
desired  that  I  would  not  despatch  our  Pacquet  without  it, 
that  Congress  might  consider  it,  and,  if  approv'd,  send  a 
Commission  to  me  or  some  other  Minister  to  sign  it. 

I  venture  to  go  thus  far  in  treating,  on  the  Authority  only 
of  a  kind  of  general  Power,  given  formerly  by  a  Resolution 
of  Congress  to  Messrs.  Franklin,  Deane,  and  Lee ;  but  a 
special  Commission  seems  more  proper  to  compleat  a 
Treaty,  and  more  agreable  to  the  usual  Forms  of  such  Busi- 
ness. 

I  am  in  just  the  same  Situation  with  Denmark;  that 
Court,  by  its  Minister  here,  has  desired  a  Treaty  with  us. 
I  have  propos'd  a  Plan  formed  on  that  sent  me  for  Sweden; 
it  had  been  under  Consideration  some  time  at  Copenhagen, 
and  is  expected  here  this  Week,  so  that  I  may  possibly  send 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.  LIVINGSTON  65 

that  also  by  this  Conveyance.  You  will  have  seen  by  my 
Letter  to  the  Danish  Prime  Minister,  that  I  did  not  forget 
the  Affair  of  the  Prizes.  What  I  then  wrote,  produc'd  a 
verbal  Offer  made  me  here,  of  £10,000  Sterling,  propos'd  to 
be  given  by  his  Majesty  to  the  Captors,  if  I  would  accept 
it  as  a  full  Discharge  of  our  Demand.  I  could  not  do  this, 
I  said,  because  it  was  not  more  than  a  fifth  Part  of  the  Esti- 
mated Value.  In  answer,  I  was  told,  that  the  Estimation 
was  probably  extravagant,  that  it  would  be  difficult  to  come  at 
the  Knowledge  of  their  true  Value,  and  that,  whatever  they 
might  be  worth  in  themselves,  they  should  not  be  estimated 
as  of  such  Value  to  us  when  at  Bergen,  since  the  English  prob- 
ably watched  them,  and  might  have  retaken  them  in  their 
Way  to  America ;  at  least,  they  were  at  the  common  Risques 
of  the  Seas  and  Enemies,  and  the  Insurance  was  a  consider- 
able Drawback;  that  this  Sum  might  be  considered  as  so 
much  sav'd  for  us  by  the  King's  Interference;  for  that,  if 
the  English  Claimants  had  been  suffered  to  carry  the  Cause 
into  the  common  Courts,  they  must  have  recovered  the 
Prizes  by  the  Laws  of  Denmark;  it  was  added,  that  the 
King's  Honour  was  concern'd,  that  he  sincerely  desir'd  our 
Friendship,  but  he  would  avoid,  by  giving  this  Sum  in  the 
Form  of  a  Present  to  the  Captors,  the  Appearance  of  its  being 
exacted  from  him  as  the  Reparation  of  an  Injury,  when  it 
was  really  intended  rather  as  a  Proof  of  his  strong  Disposi- 
tion to  cultivate  a  good  Understanding  with  us. 

I  reply'd,  that  the  Value  might  possibly  be  exaggerated; 
but  that  we  did  not  desire  more  than  should  be  found  just  upon 
Enquiry,  and  that  it  was  not  difficult  to  learn  from  London 
what  Sums  were  insur'd  upon  the  Ships  and  Cargoes,  which 
would  be  some  Guide;  and  that  a  reasonable  Abatement 

VOL.  IX  —  F 


66        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

might  be  made  for  the  risque ;  but  that  the  Congress  could 
not,  in  justice  to  their  Mariners,  deprive  them  of  any  Part 
that  was  truly  due  to  those  brave  Men,  whatever  Abatement 
they  might  think  fit  to  make  (as  a  Mark  of  their  Regard  for 
the  King's  Friendship)  of  the  Part  belonging  to  the  publick; 
that  I  had,  however,  no  Instructions  or  Authority  to  make 
any  Abatement  of  any  kind,  and  could,  therefore,  only 
acquaint  Congress  with  the  Offer,  and  the  Reasons  that 
accompanied  it,  which  I  promised  to  state  fully  and  candidly 
(as  I  have  now  done),  and  attend  their  Orders;  desiring  only 
that  it  might  be  observ'd,  we  had  presented  our  Complaint 
with  Decency,  that  we  had  charg'd  no  Fault  on  the  Danish 
Government,  but  what  might  arise  from  Inattention  or  Pre- 
cipitancy, and  that  we  had  intimated  no  Resentment,  but 
had  waited,  with  Patience  and  Respect,  the  King's  Deter- 
mination, confiding,  that  he  would  follow  the  equitable  Dis- 
position of  his  own  Breast,  by  doing  us  Justice  as  soon  as 
he  could  do  it  with  Conveniency ;  that  the  best  and  wisest 
Princes  sometimes  erred,  that  it  belong'd  to  the  Condition 
of  Man,  and  was,  therefore,  inevitable,  and  that  the  true 
Honour  in  such  Cases  consisted,  not  in  disowning  or  hiding 
the  Error,  but  in  making  ample  Reparation;  that,  tho'  I 
could  not  accept  what  was  offered  on  the  Terms  proposed, 
our  Treaty  might  go  on,  and  its  Articles  be  prepared  and 
considered,  and,  in  the  mean  time,  I  hoped  his  Danish 
Majesty  would  reconsider  the  Offer,  and  make  it  more  ade- 
quate to  the  Loss  we  had  sustained.  Thus  that  matter  rests ; 
but  I  hourly  expect  to  hear  farther,  and  perhaps  may  have 
more  to  say  on  it  before  the  Ship's  Departure. 

I  shall  be  glad  to  have  the  Proceedings  you  mention  re- 
specting the  Brig  Providentia.   I  hope  the  Equity  and  Justice 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.  LIVINGSTON  67 

of  our  Admiralty  Courts  respecting  the  Property  of  Strangers 
will  always  maintain  their  Reputation;  and  I  wish  particu- 
larly to  cultivate  the  Disposition  of  Friendship  towards  us, 
apparent  in  the  late  Proceedings  of  Denmark,  as  the  Danish 
Islands  may  be  of  use  to  our  West  India  Commerce,  while 
the  English  impolitic  Restraints  continue. 

The  Elector  of  Saxony,  as  I  understand  from  his  Minister 
here,  has  thoughts  of  sending  one  to  Congress,  and  proposing 
a  Treaty  of  Commerce  and  Amity  with  us.  Prussia  has 
likewise  an  Inclination  to  share  in  a  Trade  with  America, 
and  the  Minister  of  that  Court,  tho'  he  has  not  directly  pro- 
pos'd  a  Treaty,  has  given  me  a  Pacquet  of  Lists  of  the  several 
Sorts  of  Merchandise  they  can  furnish  us  with,  which  he 
requests  me  to  send  to  America  for  the  Information  of  our 
Merchants. 

I  have  received  no  Answer  yet  from  Congress  to  my  Re- 
quest of  being  dismiss'd  from  their  Service.  They  should, 
methinks,  reflect,  that  if  they  continue  me  here,  the  Faults 
I  may  henceforth  commit,  thro'  the  Infirmities  of  Age,  will 
be  rather  theirs  than  mine.  I  am  glad  my  Journal  afforded 
you  any  Pleasure.  I  will,  as  you  desire,  endeavour  to  con- 
tinue it.  I  thank  you  for  the  Pamphlet ;  it  contains  a  great 
deal  of  Information  respecting  our  Finances.  We  shall,  as 
you  advise,  avoid  publishing  it.  But  I  see  they  are  publish- 
ing it  in  the  English  Papers.  I  was  glad  I  had  a  copy  authen- 
ticated by  the  Signature  of  Secry  Thomson,  by  which  I  could 
assure  M.  de  Vergennes,  that  the  Money  Contract  I  had 
made  with  him  was  ratified  by  Congress,  he  having  just 
before  express'd  some  uneasiness  to  me  at  its  being  so  long 
neglected.  I  find  it  was  ratified  soon  after  it  was  receiv'd, 
but  the  Ratification,  except  in  that  Pamphlet,  has  not  yet 


68        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

come  to  hand.  I  have  done  my  best  to  procure  the  farther 
Loan  directed  by  the  Resolution  of  Congress.  It  was  not 
possible.  I  have  written  on  that  Matter  to  Mr.  Morris. 
I  wish  the  rest  of  the  Estimates  of  Losses  and  Mischiefs 
were  come  to  hand ;  they  would  still  be  of  Use. 

Mr.  Barclay  has  in  his  Hands  the  Affair  of  the  Alliance 
and  Eon  Homme  Richard.  I  will  afford  him  all  the  Assist- 
ance in  my  Power,  but  it  is  a  very  perplex'd  Business.  That 
Expedition,  tho'  for  particular  Reasons  under  American 
Commissions  and  Colours,  was  carry'd  on  at  the  King's 
expence,  and  under  his  Orders.  M.  de  Chaumont  was  the 
Agent  appointed  by  the  Minister  of  the  Marine  to  make  the 
Outfit.  He  was  also  chosen  by  all  the  Captains  of  the  Squad- 
ron, as  appears  by  an  Instrument  under  their  Hands,  to  be 
their  Agent,  receive,  sell,  and  divide  Prizes,  &c.  The  Crown 
bought  two  of  them  at  public  Sale,  and  the  Money,  I  under- 
stand, is  lodg'd  in  the  Hands  of  a  responsible  Person  at 
L'Orient.  M.  de  Chaumont  says  he  has  given  in  his  Accounts 
to  the  Marine,  and  that  he  has  no  more  to  do  with  the  Affair, 
except  to  receive  a  Ballance  due  to  him.  That  Account, 
however,  is  I  believe  unsettled,  and  the  Absence  of  some  of 
the  Captains  is  said  to  make  another  Difficulty,  which  re- 
tards the  Completion  of  the  Business.  I  never  paid  or  re- 
ceiv'd  any  thing  relating  to  that  Expedition,  nor  had  any  other 
Concern  in  it,  than  barely  ordering  the  Alliance  to  join  the 
Squadron,  at  M.  de  Sartine's  Request.  I  know  not  whether 
the  other  Captains  will  not  claim  a  Share  in  what  we  may 
obtain  from  Denmark,  tho'  the  Prizes  were  made  by  the 
Alliance,  when  separate  from  the  Squadron.  If  so,  that  is 
another  Difficulty  in  the  way  of  making  Abatement  in  our 
Demand,  without  their  Consent. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.  LIVINGSTON  69 

I  am  sorry  to  find,  that  you  have  Thoughts  of  quitting  the 
Service.  I  do  not  think  your  Place  can  be  easily  well  supply 'd . 
You  mention,  that  an  entire  new  Arrangement,  with  respect 
to  foreign  Affairs,  is  under  Consideration.  I  wish  to  know 
whether  any  Notice  is  likely  to  be  taken  in  it  of  my  Grandson. 
He  has  now  gone  through  an  Apprenticeship  of  near  seven 
Years  in  the  ministerial  Business,  and  is  very  capable  of 
serving  the  States  in  that  Line,  as  possessing  all  the  Requisites 
of  Knowledge,  Zeal,  Activity,  Language,  and  Address.  He 
is  well  lik'd  here,  and  Count  de  Vergennes  has  express'd  to 
me  in  warm  Terms  his  very  good  Opinion  of  him.  The  late 
Swedish  Ambassador,  Count  de  Creutz,  who  has  gone  home 
to  be  Prime  Minister,  desir'd  I  would  endeavour  to  procure 
his  being  sent  to  Sweden,  with  a  public  Character,  assuring 
me,  that  he  should  be  glad  to  receive  him  there  as  our  Minister, 
and  that  he  knew  it  would  be  pleasing  to  the  King.  The 
present  Swedish  Ambassador  has  also  propos'd  the  same  thing 
to  me,  as  you  will  see  by  a  Letter  of  his,  which  I  enclose.1 
One  of  the  Danish  Ministers,  M.  Walterstorff,  who  will  prob- 
ably be  sent  in  a  public  Character  to  Congress,  has  also  ex- 
press'd his  Wish,  that  my  Grandson  may  be  sent  to  Denmark. 
But  it  is  not  my  Custom  to  solicit  Employments  for  myself, 
or  any  of  my  Family,  and  I  shall  not  do  it  in  this  Case.  I 
only  hope,  that  if  he  is  not  to  be  employ'd  in  your  new  Arrange- 
ment, I  may  be  informed  of  it  as  soon  as  possible,  that,  while 
I  have  Strength  left  for  it,  I  may  accompany  him  in  a  Tour 
to  Italy,  returning  thro'  Germany,  which  I  think  he  may 
make  to  more  Advantage  with  me  than  alone,  and  which  I 
have  long  promis'd  to  afford  him,  as  a  Reward  for  his  faith- 
ful Service,  and  his  tender  filial  Attachment  to  me. 

1  See  letter  to  Baron  de  Stael,  June  16,  1783.  —  ED. 


7o        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

July  25.  While  I  was  writing  the  above,  M.  Walterstorff 
came  in,  and  delivered  me  a  Pacquet  from  M.  de  Rosen- 
crone,  the  Danish  Prime  Minister,  containing  the  Project 
of  the  Treaty  with  some  proposed  Alterations,  and  a  Paper 
of  Reasons  in  support  of  them.  Fearing  that  we  should  not 
have  time  to  copy  them,  I  send  herewith  the  Originals,  rely- 
ing on  his  Promise  to  furnish  me  with  Copies  in  a  few  Days. 
He  seemed  to  think,  that  the  Interest  of  the  Merchants  is 
concerned  in  the  immediate  Conclusion  of  the  Treaty,  that 
they  may  form  their  Plans  of  Commerce,  and  wish'd  to  know 
whether  I  did  not  think  my  general  Power,  above  mentioned, 
sufficient  for  that  purpose.  I  told  him,  I  thought  a  particular 
Commission  more  agreable  to  the  Forms ;  but,  if  his  Danish 
Majesty  would  be  content  for  the  present  with  the  general 
Authority,  formerly  given  me,  I  believ'd  I  might  venture  to 
act  upon  it,  reserving,  by  a  separate  Article,  to  Congress  a 
Power  of  shortning  the  Term,  in  Case  any  Part  of  the  Treaty 
should  not  be  to  their  mind,  unless  the  Alteration  of  such 
Part  should  hereafter  be  agreed  on. 

The  Prince  de  Deux-Ponts  was  lately  at  Paris,  and  ap- 
ply'd  to  me  for  Information  respecting  a  Commerce  which 
is  desired  between  the  Electorate  of  Bavaria  and  America.1 
I  have  it  also  from  a  good  Hand  at  the  Court  of  Vienna,2  that 
the  Emperor  is  desirous  of  establishing  a  Commerce  with  us 
from  Trieste  as  well  as  Flanders,  and  would  make  a  Treaty 
with  us,  if  propos'd  to  him.  Since  our  Trade  is  laid  open,  and 
no  longer  a  Monopoly  to  England,  all  Europe  seems  desirous 
of  sharing  in  it,  and  for  that  purpose  to  cultivate  our  Friend- 
ship. That  it  may  be  better  known  everywhere,  what  sort 
of  People,  and  what  kind  of  Government  they  will  have  to 

1  See  letter  to  Prince  des  Deuxponts,  June  14,  1783.  —  ED. 

2  Dr.  Jan  Ingenhousz.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  R.  LIVINGSTON  71 

treat  with,  I  prevailed  with  a  Friend,  the  Due  de  Rochefou- 
cauld, to  translate  our  Book  of  Constitutions  into  French,  and 
I  presented  Copies  to  all  the  foreign  Ministers.  I  send  you 
one  herewith.  They  are  much  admired  by  the  Politicians 
here,  and  it  is  thought  will  induce  considerable  Emigrations 
of  substantial  People  from  different  Parts  of  Europe  to 
America.  It  is  particularly  a  Matter  of  Wonder,  that,  in  the 
Midst  of  a  cruel  War  raging  in  the  Bowels  of  our  Country, 
our  Sages  should  have  the  Firmness  of  Mind  to  sit  down 
calmly  and  form  such  compleat  Plans  of  Government.  They 
add  considerably  to  the  Reputation  of  the  United  States. 

I  have  mentioned  above  the  Port  of  Trieste,  with  which 
we  may  possibly  have  a  Commerce,  and  I  am  told  that  many 
useful  Productions  and  Manufactures  of  Hungary  may  be 
had  extreamly  cheap  there.  But  it  becomes  necessary  first 
to  consider  how  our  Mediterranean  Trade  is  to  be  protected 
from  the  Corsaires  of  Barbary.  You  will  see  by  the  enclos'd 
Copy  of  a  Letter  I  receiv'd  from  Algiers,  the  Danger  two  of 
our  Ships  escap'd  last  Winter.  I  think  it  not  improbable 
that  those  Rovers  may  be  privately  encouraged  by  the  English 
to  fall  upon  us,  to  prevent  our  Interference  in  the  Carrying 
Trade ;  for  I  have  in  London  heard  it  is  a  Maxim  among  the 
Merchants,  that,  if  there  were  no  Algiers,  it  would  be  worth 
England's  while  to  build  one.  I  wonder,  however,  that  the 
rest  of  Europe  do  not  combine  to  destroy  those  Nests,  and 
secure  Commerce  from  their  future  Piracies. 

I  made  the  Grand  Master  of  Malta  a  Present  of  one  of 
our  Medals  in  Silver,  writing  him  a  Letter,  of  which  I  enclose 
a  Copy ; l  and  I  believe  our  People  will  be  kindly  receiv'd  in 

1  See  letter  to  Emmanuel  Rohan,  grand  master  of  Malta,  April  6,  1783. — 
ED. 


72        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

his  Ports;  but  that  is  not  sufficient;  and  perhaps,  now  we 
have  Peace,  it  will  be  proper  to  send  Ministers,  with  suitable 
Presents,  to  establish  a  Friendship  with  the  Emperor  of 
Morocco,  and  the  other  Barbary  States,  if  possible.  Mr. 
Jay  will  inform  you  of  some  Steps,  that  have  been  taken  by  a 
Person  at  Alicant,  without  Authority,  towards  a  Treaty  with 
that  Emperor.  I  send  you  herewith  a  few  more  of  the  above- 
mentioned  Medals,  which  have  given  great  Satisfaction  to 
this  Court  and  Nation.  I  should  be  glad  to  know  how  they 
are  lik'd  with  you. 

Our  People,  who  were  Prisoners  in  England,  are  now  all 
discharg'd.  During  the  whole  War,  those  who  were  in  For- 
ton  prison,  near  Portsmouth,  were  much  befriended  by  the 
constant  charitable  Care  of  Mr.  Wren,  a  Presbyterian  Min- 
ister there,  who  spared  no  Pains  to  assist  them  in  their  Sick- 
ness and  Distress,  by  procuring  and  distributing  among  them 
the  Contributions  of  good  Christians,  and  prudently  dispensing 
the  Allowance  I  made  them,  which  gave  him  a  great  deal  of 
trouble,  but  he  went  through  it  chearfully.  I  think  some 
public  Notice  should  be  taken  of  this  good  Man.  I  wish  the 
Congress  would  enable  me  to  make  him  a  Present,  and  that 
some  of  our  Universities  would  confer  upon  him  the  Degree 
of  Doctor.1 

The  Duke  of  Manchester,  who  has  always  been  our  Friend 
hi  the  House  of  Lords,  is  now  here  as  Ambassador  from  Eng- 

1  This  suggestion  was  not  overlooked.  Congress  sent  him  a  vote  of  thanks 
for  his  humane  and  benevolent  attention  to  the  American  prisoners,  which  was 
conveyed  to  him  in  a  letter  from  the  President.  The  degree  of  Doctor  in 
Divinity  was  conferred  upon  him  by  the  College  at  Princeton,  in  New  Jersey. 
See  letter  to  Hodgson,  Dec.  10,  1783. 

Dr.  Thomas  Wren  died  at  Portsmouth,  on  the  3Oth  of  October,  1787,  at  the 
age  of  sixty-three.  A  well-written  obituary  notice  of  him  is  contained  in  The 
Gentleman1  s  Magazine  for  November  of  that  year.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  73 

land.  I  dine  with  him  to-day,  (26th,)  and,  if  any  thing  of 
Importance  occurs,  I  will  add  it  in  a  Postcript.  Be  pleased 
to  present  my  dutiful  Respects  to  the  Congress,  assure  them 
of  my  most  faithful  Services,  and  believe  me  to  be,  with  great 

and  sincere  Esteem,  Sir,   &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1427.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES    (p.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

A  Passy,  ce  24  Juillet,  1783. 

M.  Franklin  a  1'honneur  d'envoyer  a  Monsieur  le  Comte 
de  Vergennes  un  exemplaire  des  Constitutions  des  Etats 
Unis  de  PAme'rique,  qu'il  le  prie  de  vouloir  bien  accepter. 

M.  Franklin  prend  la  liberte*  d'envoyer  en  m^me  temps 
ceux  destines  pour  le  Roi  et  la  Famille  Royale ;  et  il  prie  Mon- 
sieur le  Comte  de  Vergennes  de  vouloir  bien  les  faire  par- 
venir  a  leur  destination,  suivant  la  forme  qui  lui  paroitra 
convenable. 


1428.    TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  July  27,  1783. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  your  very  kind  letter  by  Dr.  Blagden,1  and  es- 
teem myself  much  honoured  by  your  friendly  Remembrance. 

1  Sir  Charles  Blagden  (1748-1820),  a  physician  who  entered  the  army  as  a 
medical  officer.  He  was  elected  F.  R.  S.  in  1772,  and  succeeded  Matthew 
Maty,  as  secretary  of  the  Royal  Society,  May  5,  1784,  a  post  of  honour  for 
which  he  was  indebted  to  his  lifelong  friend,  Sir  Joseph  Banks.  "  Blagden, 
sir,"  said  Dr.  Johnson,  "  is  a  delightful  fellow."  He  died  suddenly  in  Paris  at 
the  house  of  the  chemist  Berthollet.  —  ED. 


74        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

I  have  been  too  much  and  too  closely  engaged  in  public 
Affairs,  since  his  being  here,  to  enjoy  all  the  Benefit  of  his 
Conversation  you  were  so  good  as  to  intend  me.  I  hope  soon 
to  have  more  Leisure,  and  to  spend  a  part  of  it  in  those 
Studies,  that  are  much  more  agreable  to  me  than  political 
Operations. 

I  join  with  you  most  cordially  in  rejoicing  at  the  return  of 
Peace.  I  hope  it  will  be  lasting,  and  that  Mankind  will  at 
length,  as  they  call  themselves  reasonable  Creatures,  have 
Reason  and  Sense  enough  to  settle  their  Differences  without 
cutting  Throats;  for,  in  my  opinion,  there  never  was  a  good 
War,  or  a  bad  Peace.  What  vast  additions  to  the  Con- 
veniences and  Comforts  of  Living  might  Mankind  have  ac- 
quired, if  the  Money  spent  in  Wars  had  been  employed  in 
Works  of  public  utility !  What  an  extension  of  Agriculture, 
even  to  the  Tops  of  our  Mountains:  what  Rivers  rendered 
navigable,  or  joined  by  Canals :  what  Bridges,  Aqueducts, 
new  Roads,  and  other  public  Works,  Edifices,  and  Improve- 
ments, rendering  England  a  compleat  Paradise,  might  have 
been  obtained  by  spending  those  Millions  in  doing  good, 
which  in  the  last  War  have  been  spent  in  doing  Mischief ;  in 
bringing  Misery  into  thousands  of  Families,  and  destroying 
the  Lives  of  so  many  thousands  of  working  people,  who 
might  have  performed  the  useful  labour ! 

I  am  pleased  with  the  late  astronomical  Discoveries  made 
by  our  Society.1  Furnished  as  all  Europe  now  is  with 
Academies  of  Science,  with  nice  Instruments  and  the  Spirit 
of  Experiment,  the  progress  of  human  knowledge  will  be 
rapid,  and  discoveries  made,  of  which  we  have  at  present  no 
Conception.  I  begin  to  be  almost  sorry  I  was  born  so  soon, 

1  The  Royal  Society.  —  ED. 


1783]      NOTE  ON  LETTER   OF  THOMAS  BARCLAY         75 

since  I  cannot  have  the  happiness  of  knowing  what  will  be 
known  100  years  hence. 

I  wish  continued  success  to  the  Labours  of  the  Royal  Society, 
and  that  you  may  long  adorn  their  Chair;  being,  with  the 

highest  esteem,  dear  Sir,   &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Dr.  Blagden  will  acquaint  you  with  the  experiment 
of  a  vast  Globe  sent  up  into  the  Air,  much  talked  of  here, 
and  which,  if  prosecuted,  may  furnish  means  of  new  knowl- 
edge. 


1429.  NOTE  BY  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN  UPON  A 
LETTER  ADDRESSED  TO  HIM  BY  THOMAS 
BARCLAY,  JULY  28,  1783  l  (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

WHEN  the  Ship  Alliance  belonging  to  the  Congress  was  at 
POrient,  under  the  Command  of  Capt.  Jones,  Moylan  and 
C°  Merchants  there,  were  appointed  to  supply  the  Ship  with 
what  was  necessary  during  her  stay. 

1  The  letter  upon  which  the  above  is  written  is  as  follows :  — 

"Auteuil  28  July  1783. 
"  SIR, 

"  I  have  the  honor  to  inform  your  Excellency  that  I  received  last  post  a 
Letter  from  Mess?  Schweighauser  and  Dobree  of  Nantes  under  whose  care  the 
Arsenal  belonging  to  the  United  States  is  placed,  informing  me  that  their  Part- 
ner at  L'Orient  Mess?  Puchelberg  and  C°.,  had  some  months  ago  laid  an 
attachment  on  all  the  Arms  and  other  Military  supplies  under  the  Care  of 
Mess?  Schweighauser  and  Dobree. 

"I  need  not  inform  your  Excellency  of  the  nature  of  the  transaction,  as  it 
fell  immediately  under  your  own  inspection,  but  I  beg  leave  to  say  that  unless 
Government  passes  some  signal  Censure  on  those  persons  who  have  brought  the 
Execution  my  office  will  be  embarrass'd  beyond  description. 

"  I  beg  Sir  you  will  lay  the  matter  in  its  proper  light  before  the  Ministers, 


76        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

Capt.  Landais  taking  Possession  of  the  Ship  surreptitiously 
in  the  absence  of  Capt.  Jones,  apply'd  to  one  Puchelberg,  a 
Commis  of  Mf  Schweighauser,  for  some  Provisions,  who  not 
only  without  Orders  either  from  me  or  Mr  Schweighauser,  but 
contrary  to  express  Orders  from  both,  furnished  the  same, 
pretending  that  Landais  demanded  them  in  the  name  and 
on  Account  of  the  Navy-Board  of  Boston. 

Payment  was  afterwards  demanded  of  me,  whichlrefus'd, 
referring  the  Matter  to  the  said  Navy-Board.  It  was  also 
demanded  of  his  Employer  Schweighauser,  who  it  seems  ref  us'd 
also,  probably  because  the  Disbursement  was  made  contrary 
to  Orders. 

This  Man,  Puchelberg,  has  on  this  Account,  arrested  the 
Property  of  the  United  States,  in  whose  Hands  soever  he 
could  find  any. 

The  Consul  of  the  States  complains  of  it  as  an  Injury,  and 
an  Insult.  And  it  is  certain,  that  great  Inconveniencies  will 
follow,  if  such  Proceedings  are  permitted,  and  if  every  man 
who  pretends  a  Demand  against  any  Foreign  Power,  how- 
ever ill-founded,  may  arrest  the  Effects  of  that  Power  in 
France;  for  so  the  arms,  ammunition,  Clothing,  &c.,  pur- 
chased in  France,  and  depended  on  for  important  Opera- 
tions of  Government,  may  be  stopt  by  any  private  Person, 
perhaps  under  Direction  of  an  Enemy,  and  those  Operations 
defeated;  and  the  United  States  can  never  hereafter  with 
safety  make  any  such  Purchases  in  France. 

and  obtain  as  soon  as  possible  the  dismission  of  this  attachment  and  of  those 
laid  on  the  Alliances  prize  money. 

"These  attachments  have  been  held  in  suspence  several  months  to  the 
great  determent  of  the  Public  business  under  my  care,  and  at  the  imminent 
risk  of  a  heavy  loss  in  the  final  payment. 

"  I  have  the  honor  to  be  etc, 

"THO?  BARCLAY."  —  ED. 


1783]  TO   CAPTAIN  NATHANIEL  FALCONER  77 

It  is  therefore  submitted  to  consideration,  whether  the  said 
arrests  ought  not  only  to  be  immediately  discharg'd,  but  the 

Arrester  punish'd  for  his  Insolence. 

B.  F. 


1430.    TO  CAPTAIN   NATHANIEL   FALCONER 

(P.  H.  S.) 
Passy,  July  28,  1783. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  favour  of  the  i8th.1 

Capt.  Barney  brought  us  the  Dispatches  we  so  long  ex- 
pected. —  M*.  Deane  as  you  observe  is  lost :  D.r.  Bancroft  is 
I  believe  steady  to  the  Interest  of  his  Country,  and  will  make 
an  agreeable  passenger  if  you  can  take  him.  You  desire  to 
know  something  of  the  State  of  Affairs  here.  Everything 
goes  well  with  respect  to  this  Court  &  the  other  Friendly 
Powers.  What  England  is  doing,  or  means  to  do;  or  why 
the  Definitive  Treaty  is  so  long  delay'd,  I  know  perhaps  less 
than  you  do ;  as,  being  in  that  Country,  you  may  have  Op- 
portunities of  hearing  more  than  I  can.  For  myself  I  am  at 
present  as  hearty  &  well  as  I  have  been  these  many  years; 
and  as  happy  as  a  Man  can  be  where  everybody  strives  to 
make  him  so. 

The  French  are  an  amiable  People  to  live  with :  They  love 
me,  &  I  love  them.  Yet  I  do  not  feel  myself  at  home,  &  I 
wish  to  die  in  my  own  Country.  —  Barney  will  sail  this  Week 
without  Despatches.  A  good  voyage  to  you,  my  friend ;  and 
may  God  bless  you. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

Mn  A.  P.  S.— Er>. 


78          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

1431.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES     (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  August  16,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  have  the  honour  to  inform  your  Excellency,  that  the 
English  ministry  do  not  agree  to  any  of  the  propositions  that 
have  been  made,  either  by  us  or  by  their  minister  here ;  and 
they  have  sent  over  a  plan  for  the  definitive  treaty,  which  con- 
sists merely  of  the  preliminaries  formerly  signed,  with  a  short 
introductory  paragraph,  and  another  at  the  conclusion,  con- 
firming and  establishing  the  said  preliminary  articles.  My 
colleagues  seem  inclined  to  sign  this  with  Mr.  Hartley,  and  so 
to  finish  the  affair.  I  am,  with  respect,  Sir,  your  Excellency's, 
&c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1432.    TO   HENRY   LAURENS  l          (L.  L.) 

Passy,  Aug.  21.  1783. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  do  not  doubt  but  you  have  written  to  some  one  or  other 
of  your  Colleagues  since  your  Arrival  in  England:  and  as 
we  have  heard  nothing  from  you,  I  thought  it  necessary  by  a 
Line  to  inform  you  that  none  of  your  Letters  are  come  to 
Hand. 

After  making  and  sending  over  many  Propositions  of  ours 
and  of  M*  Hartley's,  and  long  Delays  of  Answers,  it  is  come 
finally  to  this,  that  the  Ministers  propose  our  signing  as  a 
Definitive  Treaty  the  Preliminary  Articles,  with  no  Alteration 

1  Then  at  Bath.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  79 

or  Addition,  except  a  Paragraph  of  Preamble  setting  forth 
that  the  following  Articles  had  been  agreed  to  &  a  concluding 
Paragraph  confirming  them.  Thus  I  suppose  the  Affair  will 
be  concluded.  Wishing  Health  &  Happiness  to  you  &  yours; 
I  am  ever,  with  sincere  &  great  Esteem,  Dear  Sir, 

Your  most  obed.  hum.  Servt. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1433.    TO   SIR   JOSEPH   BANKS     (u.  of  P.) 

Passy,  Aug.  30.  1783. 

SIR, 

On  Wednesday  the  27th  Instant,  the  new  aerostatic  Ex- 
periment, invented  by  Mess?  Mongolfier  of  Annonay  l  was 
repeated  by  Mr.  Charles;  Professor  of  Experimental  Phi- 
losophy at  Paris. 

A  hollow  Globe  12  feet  diameter  was  formed  of  what  is 
called  in  England  Oiled  Silk,  here  Taffetas  gommte,  the  Silk 
being  impregnated  with  a  Solution  of  Gum-elastic  in  Lint- 
seed  Oil,  as  is  said.  The  Parts  were  sewed  together  while 
wet  with  the  Gum,  and  some  of  it  was  afterwards  passed  over 
the  Seams,  to  render  it  as  tight  as  possible. 

It  was  afterwards  filled  with  the  inflammable  Air  that  is 
produced  by  pouring  Oil  of  Vitriol  upon  Filings  of  Iron, 
when  it  was  found  to  have  a  Tendency  upwards  so  strong  as 
to  be  capable  of  lifting  a  Weight  of  39  Pounds,  exclusive  of 
its  own  weight  which  was  25  Ib,  and  the  Weight  of  the  Air 
contain'd. 

It  was  brought  early  in  the  Morning  to  the  Champ  de  Mars, 

1  Stephen  and  Joseph  Montgolfier,  sons  of  Peter  Montgolfier,  a  paper 
maker  at  Annonay.  —  ED. 


8o         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

a  Field  in  which  Reviews  are  sometimes  made,  lying  between 
the  Military  School  and  the  River.  There  it  was  held  down 
by  a  Cord,  till  5  in  the  Afternoon,  when  it  was  to  be  let  loose. 
Care  was  taken  before  the  Hour  to  replace  what  Portion  had 
been  lost  of  the  inflammable  Air,  or  of  its  Force,  by  injecting 
more. 

It  is  supposed  that  not  less  than  50,000  People  were  assem- 
bled to  see  the  Experiment.  The  Champ  de  Mars  being 
surrounded  by  Multitudes,  and  vast  Numbers  on  the  opposite 
Side  of  the  River. 

At  5  o  Clock  Notice  was  given  to  the  Spectators  by  the 
Firing  of  two  Cannon,  that  the  Cord  was  about  to  be  cut. 
And  presently  the  Globe  was  seen  to  rise,  and  that  as  fast  as 
a  Body  of  12  feet  diameter  with  a  force  only  of  39  pounds, 
could  be  suppos'd  to  move  the  resisting  Air  out  of  its  way. 
There  was  some  Wind,  but  not  very  strong.  A  little  Rain 
had  wet  it,  so  that  it  shone,  and  made  an  agreable  Appear- 
ance. It  diminish'd  in  Apparent  Magnitude  as  it  rose,  till  it 
enter 'd  the  Clouds,  when  it  seem'd  to  me  scarce  bigger  than 
an  Orange,  and  soon  after  became  invisible,  the  Clouds 
concealing  it. 

The  Multitude  separated,  all  well  satisfied  &  much  de- 
lighted with  the  Success  of  the  Experiment,  and  amusing 
one  another  with  Discourses  of  the  various  Uses  it  may  pos- 
sibly be  apply'd  to,  among  which  many  were  very  extrava- 
gant. But  possibly  it  may  pave  the  Way  to  some  Discoveries 
in  Natural  Philosophy  of  which  at  present  we  have  no  Con- 
ception. 

A  Note  secur'd  from  the  Weather  had  been  affix'd  to  the 
Globe,  signifying  the  Time  &  Place  of  its  Departure,  and 
praying  those  who  might  happen  to  find  it,  to  send  an  Account 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  81 

of  its  State  to  certain  Persons  at  Paris.  No  News  was  heard 
of  it  till  the  next  Day,  when  Information  was  receiv'd,  that  it 
fell  a  little  after  6  oClock  at  Gonesse,  a  Place  about  4  Leagues 
distance ;  and  that  it  was  rent  open,  and  some  say  had  Ice 
in  it.  It  is  suppos'd  to  have  burst  by  the  Elasticity  of  the 
contain'd  Air  when  no  longer  compress'd  by  so  heavy  an 
Atmosphere. 

One  of  38  feet  Diameter  is  preparing  by  M.  Mongolfier 
himself  at  the  Expence  of  the  Academy,  which  is  to  go  up  in  a 
few  Days.  I  am  told  it  is  constructed  of  Linen  &  Paper,  and 
is  to  be  filled  with  a  different  Air,  not  yet  made  public,  but 
cheaper  than  that  produc'd  by  the  Oil  of  Vitriol  of  which 
200  Paris  Pints  were  consum'd  hi  filling  the  other. 

It  is  said  that  for  some  Days  after  its  being  fill'd,  the  Ball 
was  found  to  lose  an  eighth  Part  of  its  Force  of  Levity  in  24 
Hours :  Whether  this  was  from  Imperfection  in  the  Tightness 
of  the  Ball,  or  a  Change  in  the  Nature  of  the  Air,  Experiments 
may  easily  discover. 

I  thought  it  my  Duty,  Sir,  to  send  an  early  Account  of  this 
extraordinary  Fact,  to  the  Society  which  does  me  the  honour 
to  reckon  me  among  its  Members;  and  I  will  endeavour  to 
make  it  more  perfect,  as  I  receive  farther  Information. 
With  great  Respect,  I  am,  Sir, 

[B.  FRANKLIN.] 

P.  S. 

Since  writing  the  above,  I  am  favoured  with  your  kind  Letter 
of  the  25^  I  am  much  oblig'd  to  you  for  the  Care  you  have 
taken  to  forward  the  Transactions,  as  well  as  to  the  Council 
for  so  readily  ordering  them  on  Application.  —  Please  to 
accept  and  present  my  Thanks. 

I  just  now  learn,  that  some  Observers  say,  the  Ball  was  150 

VOL.  IX  —  G 


82         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

seconds  in  rising,  from  the  Cutting  of  the  Cord  till  hid  in  the 
Clouds;  that  its  height  was  then  about  500  Toises,  but, 
mov'd  out  of  the  Perpendicular  by  the  Wind,  it  had  made  a 
Slant  so  as  to  form  a  Triangle,  whose  base  on  the  Earth  was 
about  200  Toises.  It  is  said  the  Country  people  who  saw  it 
fall  were  frightened,  conceiv'd  from  its  bounding  a  little  when 
it  touch'd  the  Ground,  that  there  was  some  living  Animal  in 
it,  and  attack'd  it  with  Stones  and  Knives,  so  that  it  was 
much  mangled;  but  it  is  now  brought  to  Town  &  will  be 
repaired.  — 

The  great  one  of  M.  Mongolfier,  is  to  go  up  as  is  said,  from 
Versailles,  in  about  8  or  10  Days.  It  is  not  a  Globe  but  of  a 
different  form,  more  convenient  for  penetrating  the  Air.  It 
contains  50,000  cubic  Feet,  and  is  supposed  to  have  a  Force 
of  Levity  equal  to  1500  pounds  weight.  A  Philosopher  here, 
M.  Pilatre  de  Rozier,  has  seriously  apply'd  to  the  Academy 
for  Leave  to  go  up  with  it,  in  order  to  make  some  Experiments. 
He  was  complimented  on  his  Zeal  and  Courage  for  the  Pro- 
motion of  Science,  but  advis'd  to  wait  till  the  Management 
of  these  Balls  was  made  by  Experience  more  certain  &  safe. 
They  say  the  filling  of  it  in  M.  Mongolfier's  Way  will  not  cost 
more  than  half  a  Crown.  One  is  talk'd  of  to  be  no  feet 
Diameter.  Several  Gentlemen  have  ordered  small  ones  to 
be  made  for  their  Amusement;  one  has  ordered  four  of  15 
feet  diameter  each;  I  know  not  with  what  Purpose;  but 
such  is  the  present  Enthusiasm  for  promoting  &  improving 
this  Discovery,  that  probably  we  shall  soon  make  consider- 
able Progress  in  the  Art  of  constructing  and  Using  the 
Machines.  — 

Among  the  Pleasantries  Conversation  produces  on  this 
Subject,  some  suppose  Flying  to  be  now  invented,  and  that 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  83 

since  Men  may  be  supported  in  the  Air,  nothing  is  wanted 
but  some  light  handy  Instruments  to  give  and  direct  Motion. 
Some  think  Progressive  Motion  on  the  Earth  may  be  ad- 
vanc'd  by  it,  and  that  a  Running  Footman  or  a  Horse  slung 
&  suspended  under  such  a  Globe  so  as  to  leave  no  more  of 
Weight  pressing  the  Earth  with  their  Feet,  than  perhaps  8  or 
10  Pounds,  might  with  a  fair  Wind  run  in  a  straight  Line 
across  Countries  as  fast  as  that  Wind,  and  over  Hedges, 
Ditches,  &  even  Waters.  It  has  been  even  fancied  that  in 
time  People  will  keep  such  Globes  anchored  in  the  Air,  to 
which  by  Pullies  they  may  draw  up  Game  to  be  preserved 
in  the  Cool,  &  Water  to  be  frozen  when  Ice  is  wanted.  And 
that  to  get  Money,  it  will  be  contrived  to  give  People  an 
extensive  view  of  the  Country,  by  running  them  upon  an 
Elbow  Chair  a  Mile  high  for  a  Guinea,  &c.  &c. 

[A  Pamphlet  is  printing  in  which  we  are  to  have  a  full  and 
perfect  Account  of  the  Experiments  hitherto  made,  &  I  will 
send  it  to  you.  M.  Mongolfier's  Air  to  fill  the  Globe  has 
hitherto  been  kept  secret.  Some  suppose  it  to  be  only  com- 
mon Air  heated  by  passing  thro'  the  Flame  of  burning  Straw, 
&  thereby  extreamly  rarified.  If  so  its  Levity  will  soon  be 
diminished  by  Condensation  when  it  comes  into  the  cooler 
Regions  above. 

Sept.  2d.  —  I  add  this  paper  just  now  given  me,  B.  F. 
The  print  contains  a  view  of  Champ  de  Mars,  and  the  ball 
in  the  air  with  this  subscription: 

Experience  de  la  machine  ae"rostatique  de  Me88r8'  de  Mont- 
golfier,  d'Anonai  en  Vivarais,  re*epe*te*e  a  Paris  le  27  Aout.  1783 
au  Champ  de  Mars,  avec  un  ballon  de  taffetas  enduit  de 
gomme  elastique,  de  36  pieds  6  onces  de  circonference.  Le 
ballon  plein  d'air  inflammable  a  e*te*  executd  par  Mons. 


84         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Robert,  en  vertu  d'une  souscription  Rationale,  sous  la  di- 
rection de  Mr.  Faujas  de  Saint  Fond  (et  M.  Charles). 

N.  B.  —  M.  Charles'  name   is  wrote  with  pen,  not   en- 
graved. 

Calculas  du  Ballon  do  12  pieds  de  diametre   enleve*   le 
Mercredy  27  Aout  1783. 

Circonference  du  grand  cercle      ...  37  pieds 

Diametre 12 

74 
37 


Surface 444 

Tiers  du  rayon 2 


Solidite 888  pieds  cubes 

Air  atm.  a  12  gros  le  pied       ....  12 

1776 
888 

Pesanteur  de  1'air  atm 10,656  gros 

26      f    8  /i6 

ounces 


25>     1 1332  •    /83  lb-»  4  ounces. 

6  52 

L'air  atmospherique  dont  le  ballon  occupait  la  place, 
pesant  83  Ib.  4  onces  et  sa  force  pour  s'elever  etant  de  40  Ib. 
il  falloit  que  son  enveloppe  et  Pair  inflammable  qu'elle  conten- 
oit  ne  pesassent  que  42  Ib.  4  onces.  L'enveloppe  en  pesoit 
25,  reste  pour  1'air  inflammable  18  Ib.  4  onces. 

En  supposant  le  ballon  de  6  pieds  de  diametre,  son  volume 
etant  le  8me,  du  ier  le  poids  de  1'air  dont  il  occupoit  la  place 
seroit  le  8me,  de  83  Ib.,  4  onces  =  10  Ib.,  6  onces,  4  gros. 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  85 

L'air  inflammable  \  de  18  lb.,  4  onces  =  2  lb.,  4  onces,  4  gros. 
L'enveloppe  \  de  25  lb.,  =  6  lb.,  4  onces.  Les  dernieres 
valeurs  reunies  sont  8  lb.,  8  onces,  4  gros,  qui  otes  de  10  lb., 
6  onces,  4  gros  pesanteur  de  Pair  atmospherique  dont  le 
ballon  occupoit  la  place,  laisse  pour  sa  force  d 'elevation  i  lb., 
14  onces.]  * 

1  The  paragraphs  in  brackets  are  not  found  in  the  draft  in  U.  of  P.,  but  they 
exist  in  a  letter  press  copy  now  owned  (March,  1906)  by  Dodd,  Mead  &  Co. 
To  this  letter  Sir  Joseph  Banks  wrote  in  reply,  September  13, 1783  (A.  P.  S.)  :  — 

"  DEAR  SIR, 

"  The  having  it  in  my  power  to  answer  with  precision  the  numerous  questions 
which  are  asked  me  by  all  sorts  of  people  concerning  the  aerostatique  experi- 
ment which  such  as  they  may  be  are  suggested  by  every  newspaper  now  printed 
here  and  considered  as  a  part  of  my  duty  to  answer  is  an  obligation  for  which 
I  am  indebted  to  you  and  an  obligation  of  no  small  extent  I  consider  it.  I 
lament  that  the  vacation  of  the  Royal  Society  will  not  permit  me  to  lay  your 
paper  before  them  as  a  Body  immediately  ;  but  it  shall  be  the  first  thing  they 
see  when  we  meet  again  as  the  conciseness  &  intelligence,  with  which  it  is 
drawn  up,  preclude  the  hopes  of  any  thing  more  satisfactory  being  receiv'd. 

"  Most  agreable  are  the  hopes  you  give  me  of  continuing  to  communicate 
on  this  most  interesting  subject.  I  consider  the  present  day,  which  has  opened 
a  road  into  the  air,  as  an  epoche  from  whence  a  rapid  increase  of  the  stock  of 
real  knowledge  with  which  the  human  species  is  furnish'd  must  take  its  date; 
and  the  more  immediate  effect  it  will  have  upon  the  concerns  of  mankind 
greater  than  any  thing  since  the  invention  of  shipping  which  opened  our  way 
upon  the  face  of  the  water  from  land  to  land.  If  the  rough  effort  which  has 
now  been  made  meets  with  the  improvement  that  other  sciences  have  done 
we  shall  see  it  used  as  a  counterpoise  to  absolute  gravity  a  broad-wheeld 
waggon  travelling  with  2  only  instead  of  8  horses  the  breed  of  that  Rival 
animal  in  course  diminishd  &  the  human  species  increasd  in  proportion. 

"  I  have  thought  as  soon  as  I  return  from  my  present  banishment  of  con- 
structing one  and  sending  it  up  for  the  purpose  of  an  electrical  kite  a  use  to 
which  it  seem  particularly  adapted.  Be  pleased  to  direct  your  Favors  to  Soho 
Square  ;  they  are  sent  to  me  without  delay  wherever  I  am.  Believe  me,  your 
obliged  &  obedient  servant  Jos:  BANKS." 

Sir  Joseph  Banks's  letters  are  almost  entirely  without  punctuation.  He 
seems  to  have  been  especially  hostile  to  the  comma.  Like  Timothy  Dexter 
he  might  have  filled  a  page  with  miscellaneous  points  and  invited  his  readers 
"to  pepper  the  dish  to  suit  themselves."  —  ED. 


86          THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

1434.    TO   ELIAS    BOUDINOT *     (D.  s.  w.) 

Passy,  August  31,  1783. 

SIR, 

After  a  continued  course  of  treating  for  nine  months,  the 
English  ministry  have  at  length  come  to  a  resolution  to  lay 
aside,  for  the  present,  all  the  new  propositions,  that  have 
been  made  and  agreed  to,  their  own  as  well  as  ours ;  and  they 
offer  to  sign  again  as  a  Definitive  Treaty,  the  articles  of 
November  the  3oth,  1782,  the  ratifications  of  which  have 
already  been  exchanged.  We  have  agreed  to  this,  and  on 
Wednesday  next,  the  third  of  September,  it  will  be  signed, 
with  all  the  definitive  treaties,  establishing  a  general  peace, 
which  may  God  long  continue.  I  am,  with  great  respect,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1435.    TO    CHARLES    J.   FOX  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Sept.  5,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  received  in  its  time  the  letter  you  did  me  the  honour  of 
writing  to  me  by  Mr.  Hartley ;  and  I  cannot  let  him  depart 
without  expressing  my  satisfaction  in  his  conduct  towards  us, 
and  applauding  the  prudence  of  that  choice,  which  sent  us  a 
man  possessed  of  such  a  spirit  of  conciliation,  and  of  all  that 
frankness,  sincerity,  and  candor,  which  naturally  produce 
confidence,  and  thereby  facilitate  the  most  difficult  negocia- 
tions.  Our  countries  are  now  happily  at  peace,  on  which  I 
congratulate  you  most  cordially ;  and  I  beg  you  to  be  assured, 

1  President  of  Congress.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  DAVID  HARTLEY  87 

that  as  long  as  I  have  any  concern  in  public  affairs,  I  shall 
readily  and  heartily  concur  with  you  in  promoting  every 
measure  that  may  tend  to  promote  the  common  felicity. 
With  great  and  sincere  esteem  and  respect,  I  have  the  honour 
to  be,  &c. 

B.    FRANKLIN.1 


1436.     TO    DAVID   HARTLEY 2          (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Sept.  6,  1783. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

Enclosed  is  my  letter  to  Mr.  Fox.  I  beg  you  wou'd  assure 
him,  that  my  expressions  of  Esteem  for  him  are  not  mere 
professions.  I  really  think  him  a  Great  Man,  and  I  cou'd  not 
think  so,  if  I  did  not  think  he  was  at  bottom,  and  wou'd 
prove  himself  a  good  one.  Guard  him  against  mistaken 
notions  of  the  American  people.  You  have  deceived  your- 
selves too  long  with  vain  expectations  of  reaping  advantage 

1  The  above  letter  was  written  in  acknowledgment  of  the  following  letter 
from  Charles  James  Fox,  April  19,  1783:  — 

"  SIR, 

"  Although  it  is  unnecessary  for  me  to  introduce  to  your  acquaintance  a 
gentleman  so  well  known  to  you  as  Mr.  Hartley,  who  will  have  the  honour 
of  delivering  to  you  this  letter,  yet  it  may  be  proper  for  me  to  inform  you,  that 
he  has  the  full  and  entire  confidence  of  his  Majesty's  ministers  upon  the  sub- 
ject of  his  mission. 

"  Permit  me,  Sir,  to  take  this  opportunity  of  assuring  you  how  happy  I 
should  esteem  myself,  if  it  were  to  prove  my  lot  to  be  the  instrument  of  com- 
pleting a  real  and  substantial  reconciliation  between  two  countries,  formed  by 
nature  to  be  in  a  state  of  friendship  one  with  the  other,  and  thereby  to  put  the 
finishing  hand  to  a  building,  in  laying  the  first  stone  of  which  I  may  fairly 
boast  that  I  had  some  share.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  with  every  sentiment 
of  regard  and  esteem,  Sir,  &c.  C.  J.  Fox."  —  ED. 

2  From  a  copy  in  the  possession  of  Mrs.  L.  Z.  Leiter.     A  trans,  exists  in 
L.  C.     Passages  in  brackets  are  found  only  in  L.  C.  trans.  —  ED. 


88        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

from  our  little  discontents.  We  are  more  thoroughly  an 
enlightned  people,  with  respect  to  our  political  interests, 
than  perhaps  any  other  under  heaven.  Every  man  among  us 
reads,  and  is  so  easy  in  his  circumstances  as  to  have  leisure 
for  conversations  of  improvement,  and  for  acquiring  Infor- 
mation. Our  domestic  misunderstandings,  when  we  have 
them,  are  of  small  extent,  tho'  monstrously  magnified  by 
your  microscopic  newspapers.  He  who  judges  from  them, 
that  we  are  falling  into  anarchy,  or  returning  to  the  obedience 
of  Britain,  is  like  one  who  being  shewn  some  spots  in  the  Sun, 
shou'd  fancy,  that  the  whole  Disk  would  soon  be  overspread 
by  them,  and  that  there  wou'd  be  an  end  of  Daylight.  The 
great  body  of  Intelligence  among  our  people  surrounds  and 
overpowers  our  petty  dissensions,  as  the  Sun's  great  mass  of 
fire  diminishes  and  destroys  his  Spots.  Do  not  therefore 
any  longer  delay  the  Evacuation  of  New  York,  in  the  vain 
hopes  of  a  new  revolution  in  your  favour,  if  such  a  hope  has 
indeed  had  any  effect  in  causing  that  delay.  [It  is  now  nine 
months  since  the  evacuations  were  promised.]  You  expect 
with  reason,  that  the  people  of  New  York  should  do  your 
Merchants  justice  in  the  payment  of  their  old  debts;  Con- 
sider the  injustice  you  do  them  in  keeping  them  so  long  out 
of  their  habitations,  and  out  of  their  business,  by  which  they 
might  have  been  enabled  to  make  payment. 

There  is  no  truth  more  clear  to  me  than  this,  that  the  great 
interest  of  our  two  Countries  is  a  thorough  reconciliation. 
Restraints  on  the  freedom  of  Commerce  and  intercourse 
between  us,  can  afford  no  advantage  equivalent  to  the  Mis- 
chief they  will  do  by  keeping  up  ill  humour,  and  promoting  a 
total  alienation.  Let  you  and  I,  my  dear  Friend,  do  our  best 
towards  securing  and  advancing  that  reconciliation.  We 


1783]  TO  MRS.   MARY  HEWSON  89 

can  do  nothing,  that  in  a  dying  hour  will  afford  us  more  solid 
satisfaction. 

[I  wish  you  a  prosperous  journey,  and  a  happy  sight  of 
your  friends.  Present  my  best  respects  to  your  good  brother 
and  sister,  and]  believe  me  ever,  with  sincere  and  great 
esteem,  yours  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1437.    TO    MRS.    MARY   HEWSON1       (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Sept.  7,  1783. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  the  Qth  past.  I  am  glad, 
that  the  little  Books  are  pleasing  to  you  and  your  Children, 
and  that  the  Children  improve  by  them.  I  send  you  here- 
with some  more  of  them. 

My  grandson  Bache  has  been  four  Years  at  School  at  Ge- 
neva, and  is  but  lately  come  home  to  me  here.  I  find  Rea- 
son to  be  satisfied  with  the  Improvement  he  has  made  in  his 
Learning.  He  translates  common  Latin  readily  into  French, 
but  his  English  has  suffer'd  for  want  of  Use ;  tho'  I  think  he 
would  readily  recover  it,  if  he  were  awhile  at  your  School  at 
Cheam,  and  at  the  same  time  be  going  on  with  his  Latin  and 
Greek.  You  were  once  so  kind  as  to  offer  to  take  him  under 
your  Care;  would  that  be  still  convenient  to  you?  He  is 
docile  and  of  gentle  Manners,  ready  to  receive  and  follow  good 
Advice,  and  will  set  no  bad  Example  to  your  other  Children. 
He  gains  every  day  upon  my  Affections. 

I  long  much  to  see  you  and  yours,  and  my  other  Friends 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D. — ED. 


9o        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

in  England,  but  I  have  not  yet  determined  on  the  Journey. 
Our  definitive  Treaty  of  Peace  being  now  sign'd,  I  have  in- 
deed less  to  confine  me  here,  and  might  make  a  short  Excur- 
sion without  much  Inconvenience;  but  short  Days  and 
Winter  are  coming  on,  and  I  think  I  can  hardly  undertake 
such  an  Expedition  before  the  Spring  of  next  Year. 

With  regard  to  the  future  Establishment  of  your  Children, 
which  you  say  you  want  to  consult  me  about,  I  am  still  of 
Opinion,  that  America  will  afford  you  more  Chances  of  doing 
it  well  than  England.  All  the  means  of  good  Education  are 
plenty  there,  the  general  Manners  are  simple  and  pure,  Temp- 
tations to  Vice  and  Folly  fewer,  the  Profits  of  Industry  in 
Business  as  great  and  sure  as  in  England;  and  there  is  one 
Advantage  more,  which  your  Command  of  Money  will  give 
you  there,  I  mean  the  laying  out  a  Part  of  your  Fortune  in 
new  Land,  now  to  be  had  extreamly  cheap ;  but  which  must 
be  increas'd  immensely  in  Value,  before  your  Children  come 
of  Age,  by  the  rapid  Population  of  the  Country.  If  you 
should  arrive  there  while  I  live,  you  know  you  may  depend 
on  every  Assistance  in  my  Power  to  afford  you,  and  I  think 
my  Children  will  have  a  Pleasure  too  in  serving  their  Father's 
Friend.  I  do  not  offer  it  as  a  Motive,  that  you  will  be  much 
esteem'd  and  respected  there ;  for  that  you  are,  and  must  be, 
everywhere;  but  give  me  leave  to  flatter  myself,  that  my 
being  made  happier  in  my  last  Years  by  your  Neighbourhood 
and  Society  may  be  some  Inducement  to  you. 

I  forwarded  your  Letter  to  Mr.  Williams.  Temple  is 
always  with  me,  being  my  Secretary.  He  presents  his  Re- 
spects to  you.  I  have  been  lately  ill  with  a  Fit  of  the  Gout, 
if  that  may  indeed  be  called  a  Disease.  I  rather  suspect  it 
to  be  a  Remedy,  since  I  always  find  my  Health  and  Vigour  of 


1783]  TO  JOHN  JAY  91 

Mind  improv'd  after  the  Fit  is  over.     I  am  ever,  my  dear 

Friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  You  say  you  are  a  little  afraid  that  our  Country  is 
spoiled.  Parts  of  it  have  indeed  suffered  by  the  War,  those 
situated  near  the  Sea :  but  the  body  of  the  Country  has  not 
been  much  hurt,  and  the  Fertility  of  our  Soil,  with  the  In- 
dustry of  our  People,  now  that  the  Commerce  of  all  the  World 
is  open  to  us,  will  soon  repair  the  Damages  receiv'd,  and  in- 
troduce that  Prosperity,  which  we  hope  Providence  intends 
for  us,  since  it  has  so  remarkably  favoured  our  Revolution. 


1438.    TO    JOHN   JAY1 

Passy,  September  10,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  have  received  a  letter  from  a  very  respectable  person  in 
America,  containing  the  following  words,  viz. 

"It  is  confidently  reported,  propagated,  and  believed  by 
some  among  us,  that  the  Court  of  France  was  at  the  bottom 
against  our  obtaining  the  fishery  and  territory  in  that  great 
extent,  in  which  both  are  secured  to  us  by  the  treaty ;  that  our 
minister  at  that  court  favoured,  or  did  not  oppose,  this  design 
against  us;  and  that  it  was  entirely  owing  to  the  firmness, 
sagacity,  and  disinterestedness  of  Mr.  Adams,  with  whom  Mr. 
Jay  united,  that  we  have  obtained  these  important  advan- 
tages." 2 

1  Printed  in  "Diplomatic  Correspondence  "  (Sparks),  Vol.  II,  p.  482 ;  and 
in  "Life  of  John  Jay"  (W™  Jay),  Vol.  II,  p.  125.  — ED. 

2  This  extract  is  from  a  letter  written  by  Dr.  Cooper  of  Boston,  and  dated 
May  5th,  1 783.     In  a  preceding  paragraph,  Dr.  Cooper  says :  "  There  is  a  party 


92        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

It  is  not  my  purpose  to  dispute  any  share  of  the  honour 
of  that  treaty,  which  the  friends  of  my  colleagues  may  be  dis- 
posed to  give  them;  but,  having  now  spent  fifty  years  of  my 
life  in  public  offices  and  trusts,  and  having  still  one  ambition 
left,  that  of  carrying  the  character  of  fidelity  at  least  to  the 
grave  with  me,  I  cannot  allow  that  I  was  behind  any  of  them 
in  zeal  and  faithfulness.  I  therefore  think,  that  I  ought  not 
to  suffer  an  accusation,  which  falls  little  short  of  treason  to  my 
country,  to  pass  without  notice,  when  the  means  of  effectual 


among  us  disposed  to  avail  themselves  of  every  incident,  and  of  all  personal 
resentments,  to  weaken  and  divide  our  public  counsels,  and  injure  the  alliance. 
Regard  to  the  general  good,  as  well  as  private  and  the  most  constant  friend- 
ship, oblige  me  to  state  things  as  they  are."  Then  comes  the  extract  in  the 
text.  Dr.  Cooper  adds :  "  It  has  also  been  said,  from  the  same  quarter,  that 
the  court  of  France  secretly  traversed  Mr.  Adams's  views  in  Holland  for 
obtaining  from  the  United  Provinces  an  acknowledgment  of  our  indepen- 
dence; and  that  the  same  part  has  been  acted  in  Spain  and  Russia.  All  these 
things  are  incredible  to  me  ;  and,  though  they  make  some  impression  at  present, 
truth  is  great  and  will  prevail.  Care,  I  hope,  will  be  taken  both  at  Congress 
and  in  Europe,  as  far  as  public  prudence  will  permit,  to  state,  as  soon  as  may 
be,  these  matters  in  a  just  light,  and  to  prevent  the  public  mischiefs,  as  well  as 
private  injuries,  that  may  arise  from  misapprehensions  in  matters  of  this 
moment." 

A  copy  of  the  whole  of  this  letter  was  sent  by  Dr.  Franklin  to  Count  de 
Vergennes,  and  it  is  now  contained  among  the  American  papers  in  the 
Archives  des  Affaires  Etrangeres  at  Paris.  Dr.  Franklin  likewise  sent  to  Con- 
gress a  copy  of  his  correspondence  with  Messrs.  Jay  and  Adams  on  this  sub- 
ject. M.  de  la  Luzerne,  in  writing  to  Count  de  Vergennes  some  months  after- 
wards, said :  "  Dr.  Franklin  has  at  last  aroused  himself  from  the  apathy  with 
which  till  now  he  seems  to  have  regarded  the  attacks  of  his  colleagues.  He 
has  sent  to  Congress  the  copy  of  the  letter,  which  he  had  written  to  Mr.  Jay 
and  Mr.  Adams,  requesting  these  two  ministers  to  explain  themselves  respect- 
ing a  report,  which  had  gone  abroad,  that  he  did  not  unite  in  procuring  for  the 
United  States  admission  to  the  fisheries,  and  that  he  was  disposed  to  con- 
clude a  treaty  of  peace  without  securing  this  advantage  to  the  eastern  States. 
Mr.  Jay,  in  his  letter  to  Dr.  Franklin,  renders  full  justice  to  him  on  this  point, 
and  affirms  in  a  positive  manner,  that  he  concurred  with  a  zeal  equal  to  his 
intelligence  and  experience  in  all  the  articles  of  the  peace."  —  S. 


1783]  TO  JOSIAH  QUINCY  93 

vindication  are  at  hand.  You,  Sir,  were  a  witness  of  my  con- 
duct in  that  affair.  To  you  and  my  other  colleagues  I  appeal, 
by  sending  to  each  a  similar  letter  with  this,  and  I  have  no 
doubt  of  your  readiness  to  do  a  brother  Commissioner  justice, 
by  certificates  that  will  entirely  destroy  the  effect  of  that 
accusation.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  with  much  esteem,  &C.1 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1439.    TO    JOSIAH   QUINCY '  (p.  c.) 

Passy,  September  u,  1783. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

Mr.  Storer  told  me,  not  long  since,  that  you  complained  of 
my  not  writing  to  you.  You  had  reason,  for  I  find  among 
your  Letters  to  me  two  unanswered,  viz,  those  of  May  25, 
and  Dec.  17.  1781.  The  truth  is,  I  have  had  too  much  Busi- 
ness to  do  for  the  publick,  and  too  little  Help  allowed  me ;  so 
that  it  became  impossible  for  me  to  keep  up  my  private  Cor- 
respondences. I  promised  myself  more  Leisure  when  the 
Definitive  Treaty  of  Peace  should  be  concluded.  But  that 
it  seems  is  to  be  followed  by  a  Treaty  of  Commerce,  which 
will  probably  take  up  a  good  deal  of  Time,  and  require  much 
Attention.  I  seize  this  little  Interim  to  sit  down  and  have 
a  little  Chat  with  my  Friends  in  America. 

I  lament  with  you  the  many  Mischiefs,  the  injustices,  the 
Corruption  of  Manners,  &c.,  &c.,  that  attended  a  depreciating 
Currency.  It  is  some  Consolation  to  me,  that  I  wash'd  my 

1  A  copy  of  this  letter  was  sent  to  Mr.  Adams.  Replies  were  received  from 
Mr.  Adams,  September  13,  1783,  and  Mr.  Jay,  September  n,  1783,  the  sub- 
stance of  which  will  be  found  in  Volume  X  of  this  edition.  —  ED. 

a  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Josiah  P.  Quincy,  Esq.  —  ED. 


94        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

Hands  of  that  Evil  by  predicting  it  in  Congress,  and  proposing 
Means,  that  would  have  been  effectual  to  prevent  it  if  they 
had  been  adopted.  Subsequent  Operations  that  I  have 
executed,  demonstrate  that  my  Plan  was  practicable.  But 
it  was  unfortunately  rejected.  Considering  all  our  Mistakes 
and  Mismanagements,  it  is  wonderful  we  have  finished  our 
Affair  so  well,  and  so  soon.  Indeed,  I  am  wrong  in  using 
that  Expression,  We  have  finish' d  our  Affairs  so  well.  Our 
Blunders  have  been  many,  and  they  serve  to  manifest  the 
Hand  of  Providence  more  clearly  in  our  Favour;  so  that  we 
may  much  more  properly  say,  These  are  thy  Doings,  O  Lord, 
and  they  are  marvellous  in  our  Eyes. 

Mr.  Storer,  whom  you  recommended  to  me  is  now  in  Eng- 
land. He  needed  none  of  the  Advice  you  desired  me  to  give 
him.  His  Behaviour  here  was  unexceptionable,  and  he 
gained  the  Esteem  of  all  that  knew  him. 

The  epitaph  on  my  dear  and  much  esteemed  young  Friend,1 
is  too  well  written  to  be  capable  of  Improvement  by  any  Cor- 
rections of  mine.  Your  Moderation  appears  in  it,  since  the 
natural  affection  of  a  Parent  has  not  induced  you  to  exag- 
gerate his  Virtues.  I  shall  always  mourn  his  Loss  with  you ; 
a  Loss  not  easily  made  up  to  his  Country. 

How  differently  constituted  was  his  noble  and  generous 
Mind  from  that  of  the  miserable  Calumniators  you  mention ! 
Having  Plenty  of  Merit  in  himself,  he  was  not  jealous  of  the 
Appearance  of  Merit  in  others,  but  did  Justice  to  their 
Characters  with  as  much  Pleasure  as  these  People  do  Injury. 
It  is  now  near  two  Years  since  your  Friendship  induced  you  to 
acquaint  me  with  some  of  their  Accusations.  I  guess'd  easily 
at  the  Quarter  from  whence  they  came ;  but,  conscious  of  my 

1  Josiah  Quincy,  Junior.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  JOSIAH  QUINCY  95 

Innocence,  and  unwilling  to  disturb  public  Operations  by 
private  Resentments  or  Contentions,  I  pass'd  them  over  in 
Silence;  and  have  not,  till  within  these  few  days,  taken  the 
least  Step  towards  my  Vindication.  Inform'd  that  the  Prac- 
tice of  abusing  me  continues,  and  that  some  heavy  Charges 
are  lately  made  against  me  respecting  my  Conduct  in  the 
Treaty,  written  from  Paris  and  propagated  among  you,  I 
have  demanded  of  all  my  Colleagues  that  they  do  me  Justice, 
and  I  have  no  doubt  of  receiving  it  from  each  of  them.  I  did 
not  think  it  necessary  to  justify  myself  to  you,  by  answering 
the  Calumnies  you  mentioned.  I  knew  you  did  not  believe 
them.  It  was  improbable,  that  I  should  at  this  Distance 
combine  with  anybody  to  urge  the  Redemption  of  the  Paper 
on  those  unjust  Terms,  having  no  Interest  in  such  Redemp- 
tion. It  was  impossible,  that  I  should  have  traded  with  the 
Public  Money,  since  I  had  not  traded  with  any  Money,  either 
separately  or  jointly  with  any  other  Person,  directly  or  indi- 
rectly, to  the  Value  of  a  Shilling  since  my  being  in  France. 
And  the  Fishery,  which  it  was  said  I  had  relinquished,  had 
not  then  come  in  question,  nor  had  I  ever  dropt  a  Syllable 
to  that  purpose  in  word  or  writing;  but  was  always  firm  in 
this  Principle,  that,  having  had  a  common  Right  with  the 
English  to  the  Fisheries  while  connected  with  that  Nation,  and 
having  contributed  equally  with  our  Blood  and  Treasure  in 
conquering  what  had  been  gained  from  the  French,  we  had 
an  undoubted  Right  on  breaking  up  our  Partnership,  to  a 
fair  Division.  As  to  the  two  Charges  of  Age  and  Weakness,  I 
must  confess  the  first,  but  I  am  not  quite  so  clear  in  the  latter; 
and  perhaps  my  Adversaries  may  find  that  they  presumed 
a  little  too  much  upon  it,  when  they  ventur'd  to  attack  me. 
But  enough  of  these  petty  Personalities.  I  quit  them  to 


96        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

rejoice  with  you,  in  the  PEACE  God  has  blest  us  with,  and  in 
the  Prosperity  it  gives  us  a  prospect  of.  The  Definitive  Treaty 
was  signed  the  third  instant.  We  are  now  Friends  with 
England  and  with  all  Mankind.  May  we  never  see  another 
War !  for  in  my  opinion  there  never  was  a  good  War,  or  a  bad 
Peace.  Adieu,  believe  me  ever,  my  dear  Friend,  yours  most 

affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1440.    TO   ELIAS   BOUDINOT          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Sept  13,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  received,  a  few  Days  since,  the  private  Letter  your  Ex- 
cellency did  me  the  honour  of  writing  to  me  of  the  8th  of  June. 
I  regret  with  you  the  Resignation  of  the  late  Secretary.  Your 
present  Cares  are  encreas'd  by  it,  and  it  will  be  difficult  to  find 
a  Successor  of  equal  Abilities. 

We  found  no  difficulty  in  decyphering  the  Resolution  of 
Congress.  The  Commissioners  have  taken  no  Notice  of  it  hi 
our  public  Letter. 

I  am  happy  that  both  the  Device  and  Workmanship  of  the 
Medal  are  approoved  with  you,  as  they  have  the  good  Fortune 
to  be  by  the  best  Judges  on  this  Side  the  Water.  It  has  been 
esteemed  a  well-tim'd,  as  well  as  a  well-merited  Compliment 
here,  and  has  had  good  Effects.  Since  the  two  first  which 
you  mention  as  received,  I  have  sent  by  different  Opportuni- 
ties so  many,  as  that  every  Member  of  Congress  might  have 
one.  I  hope  they  are  come  safe  to  hand  before  this  time. 
I  wrote  a  long  Letter  to  Mr.  Livingston  by  Mr.  Barney,  to 
which  I  beg  leave  to  refer,  inclosing  a  Copy. 


1783]  TO  ELIAS  BOUDINOT  97 

We  had,  before  signing  the  Definitive  Treaty,  receiv'd  the 
Ratification  of  the  preliminary  Articles  by  his  Britannic  Maj- 
esty, exchang'd  with  us  by  Mr.  Hartley  for  that  of  the  Con- 
gress. I  send  herewith  a  Copy  of  the  first  and  last  Clauses. 

In  a  former  Letter,  I  mentioned  the  volunteer  Proceedings 
of  a  Merchant  at  Alicant,  towards  obtaining  a  Treaty  between 
us  and  the  Emperor  of  Morocco.  We  have  since  receiv'd  a 
Letter  from  a  Person  l  who  says,  as  you  will  see  by  the  Copy 
enclos'd,  that  he  is  sent  by  the  Emperor  to  be  the  Bearer  of 
his  Answer  to  the  United  States,  and  that  he  is  arriv'd  in 
Spain  on  his  way  to  Paris.  He  has  not  yet  appear'd  here,  and 
we  hardly  know  what  Answer  to  give  him.  I  hope  the  send- 
ing a  Minister  to  that  Court,  as  recommended  in  my  last, 
has  been  taken  into  Consideration,  or  at  least  that  some 
Instructions  respecting  that  Nation  have  been  sent  to  your 
Minister  in  Spain,  who  is  better  situated  than  we  are  for 
such  a  Negotiation. 

The  Minister  from  Denmark  often  speaks  to  me  about 
the  propos'd  Treaty,  of  which  a  Copy  went  by  Barney.  No 
Commission  to  sign  it,  nor  any  Instructions  from  Congress 
relating  to  it,  are  yet  arriv'd;  and,  tho'  press'd,  I  have  not 
ventur'd  to  do  any  thing  further  in  the  Affair. 

I  forward  herewith  a  Letter  to  the  Congress  from  the  City 
of  Hamburgh.2  I  understand  that  a  good  Disposition  towards 
us  prevails  there,  which  it  may  be  well  to  encourage. 

No  answer  has  yet  been  given  me  from  the  Court  of  Portu- 
gal, respecting  the  Plan  of  a  Treaty  concerted  between  its 
Ambassador  here  and  me.  He  has  been  unwell  and  much  in 
the  Country,  so  that  I  have  not  seen  him  lately.  I  suspect 

1  Giacomo  Crocco.  —  ED. 

«  See  M  Diplomatic  Correspondence"  (Sparks),  Vol.  IV,  p.  88.  —  ED. 

VOL.  IX  —  H 


98        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

that  the  false  or  exaggerated  Reports  of  the  distracted  Situa- 
tion of  our  Government,  industriously  propagated  thro'out 
Europe  by  our  Enemies,  have  made  an  Impression  in  that 
Kingdom  to  our  Disadvantage,  and  inclined  them  to  hesitate 
in  forming  a  connection  with  us.  Questions  asked  me,  and 
Observations  made  by  several  of  the  foreign  Ministers  here, 
convince  me,  that  the  idle  Stories  of  our  Disunion,  Contempt 
of  Authority,  Refusal  to  pay  Taxes,  &c. ;  have  been  too 
much  credited,  and  been  very  injurious  to  our  Reputation. 

I  sent  before  a  Copy  of  the  Letter  I  wrote  to  the  Grand 
Master  of  Malta,1  with  a  present  of  our  Medal.  With  this 
you  will  have  a  Copy  of  his  Answer.  I  send  also  a  Copy  of  a 
Note  I  received  from  the  Pope's  Nuncio.2  He  is  very  civil 
on  all  Occasions,  and  has  mention'd  the  Possibility  of  an  ad- 
vantageous Trade  America  might  have  with  the  Ecclesiastical 
State,  which  he  says  has  two  good  Ports,  Civita  Vecchia,  and 


This  Court  continues  favourable  to  us.  Count  de  Ver- 
gennes  was  resolute  in  refusing  to  sign  the  Definitive  Treaty 
with  England  before  ours  was  signed.  The  English  Ministers 
were  offended,  but  comply'd.  I  am  convinc'd  that  Court 
will  never  cease  endeavouring  to  disunite  us.  We  shall,  I 
hope,  be  constantly  on  our  Guard  against  those  Machinations ; 
for  our  Safety  consists  in  a  steady  adherence  to  our  Friends, 
and  our  Reputation  in  a  faithful  Regard  to  Treaties,  and  in  a 
grateful  Conduct  towards  our  Benefactors. 

I  send  herewith  sundry  Memorials  recommended  to  my 

1  See  letter  dated  April  6,  1783.  — ED. 

2  For  the  reply  of  the    Pope's  Nuncio,   July   28,  1783  (D.  S.  W.),   see 
"  Diplomatic  Correspondence  "  (Wharton),  Vol.  VI,  p.  614.  —  ED. 

3  Name  not  given  in  draft.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  RICHARD  PRICE  99 

Care  by  M.  le  Comte  de  Vergennes,  viz.  one  respecting  a 
Claim  of  Messi'rs  Fosters,  of  Bordeaux,  one  of  M.  Pecquet, 
and  one  of  M.  Bayard.  The  Congress  will  take  such  Notice 
of  them  as  they  shall  think  proper.  With  great  Esteem  and 
Respect,  I  have  the  Honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1441.    TO   RICHARD  PRICE  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Near  Paris,  Sept.  16,  1783. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND:  —  Having  this  Opportunity  by  Mr. 
Bingham,1  who  has  the  Honour  of  being  known  to  you,  I 
seize  it  to  thank  you  for  your  excellent  Book,  and  other 
Favours,  and  to  let  you  know  that  I  continue  well,  except  a 
little  Gout,  which  perhaps  is  no  more  a  disease  than  a  Remedy. 
Mr.  Petrie  inform'd  me  of  your  being  also  well  with  Mrs. 
Price  lately  at  Brighthelmstone,  which  gave  me  great  Pleas- 
ure :  Please  to  present  my  affectionate  Respects  to  that  good 
Lady. 

All  the  Conversation  here  at  present  turns  upon  the  Bal- 
loons fill'd  with  light  inflammable  Air,  and  the  means  of 
managing  them,  so  to  give  men  the  Advantage  of  Flying.  One 
is  to  be  let  off  on  Friday  next  at  Versailles,  which  it  is  said  will 
be  able  to  carry  up  1000  pounds'  weight  —  I  know  not  whether 
inclusive  or  exclusive  of  its  own. 

I  have  sent  an  Account  of  the  former  to  Sir  Joseph  Banks, 
our  President,  and  shall  be  glad  to  hear  if  the  Experiment 
is  repeated  with  Success  in  England.  Please  to  forward  him 
the  enclos'd  Print. 

1  U.  S.  Commercial  agent  at  Martinique.  —  ED. 


100        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Inflammable  Air  puts  me  in  mind  of  a  little  jocular  Paper 
I  wrote  some  years  since  in  ridicule  of  a  prize  Question  given 
out  by  a  certain  Academy  on  this  side  the  Water,  and  I  enclose 
it  for  your  Amusement.  On  second  Thoughts,  as  it  is  a 
mathematical  Question,  and  perhaps  I  think  it  more  trifling 
than  it  really  is,  and  you  are  a  Mathematician,  I  am  afraid 
I  have  judg'd  wrong  in  sending  it  to  you.  Our  Friend,  Dr. 
Priestly,  however,  who  is  apt  to  give  himself  Airs,  and  has  a 
kind  of  Right  to  every  thing  his  Friends  produce  upon  that 
Subject,  may  perhaps  like  to  see  it,  and  you  can  send  it  to 
him  without  reading  it.1 

We  have  at  length  sign'd  our  preliminary  Articles  as  defini- 
tive. All  the  Additions  we  have  been  so  long  discussing, 
being  referred  to  a  future  Treaty  of  Commerce.  I  have  now 
a  little  Leisure,  and  long  to  see  and  be  merry  with  the  Club, 
but  I  doubt  I  cannot  undertake  the  Journey  before  Spring. 
Adieu,  and  believe  me  ever,  my  dear  Friend,  yours  most 
affectionately,  B.  FRANKLIN. 

They  make  small  Balloons  now  of  the  same  material  with 
what  is  called  Gold-beater's  Leaf.  Inclos'd  I  send  one,  which 
being  fill'd  with  inflammable  Air  by  my  Grandson,  went  up 
last  Night,  to  the  Cieling  in  my  Chamber,  and  remained 
rolling  about  there  for  some  time.  Please  give  it  also  to  Sir 
Joseph  Banks.  If  a  Man  should  go  up  with  one  of  the  large 
ones,  might  there  not  be  some  mechanical  Contrivance  to 
compress  the  Globe  at  pleasure;  and  thereby  incline  it  to 
descend,  and  let  it  expand  when  he  inclines  to  rise  again? 

1  In  reference  to  Franklin's  bagatelle  upon  "  Perfumes."  Dr.  Price  replied : 
"  Mr.  Dagge  bro't  me  your  paper  on  a  mathematical  prize  question,  proposed 
by  the  Royal  Academy  of  B[russels].  I  conrey'd  this  to  Dr.  Priestley,  and  we 
have  been  entertained  with  the  pleasantry  of  it,  and  the  ridicule  it  contains." 
—  ED. 


1783]  FROM  ROBESPIERRE  TO  FRANKLIN  101 

1442.    TO    ELIAS   BOUDINOT       (D.  s.  w.) 
Passy,  September  27,  1783. 

SIR, 

Mr.  Thaxter,  late  Secretary  of  Mr.  Adams,  who  is  charged 
with  all  our  Dispatches,  that  were  intended  to  go  by  the 
French  packet  Boat,  writes  from  L'Orient,  that  tho'  he  ar- 
rived there  two  days  before  the  time  appointed  for  her  Sailing, 
he  missed  reaching  her  by  four  hours ;  but  another  light  Ves- 
sel was  fitting,  and  would  sail  the  2ist  Instant,  in  which  he 
hoped  to  arrive  at  New  York  nearly  as  soon  as  the  Packet. 
We  shall  send  Duplicates  by  the  next  from  hence. 

In  the  mean  time  I  inclose  a  printed  Copy  of  the  definitive 
Treaty,  which  I  hear  is  ratified.  Indeed  we  have  the  Rati- 
fication of  the  Preliminaries. 

Mr.  Hartley,  when  he  left  us,  expected  to  return  in  three 
weeks,  in  order  to  proceed  with  us  in  forming  a  Treaty  of 
Commerce.  The  new  Commission  that  was  intended  for  us 
is  not  yet  come  to  hand.  With  great  Respect,  I  have  the 
honour  to  be,  Sir,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1443.    FROM    MAXIMILIEN-MARIE-ISIDORE 
ROBESPIERRE    TO    BENJAMIN    FRANKLIN1 

(U.    OF    P.) 
MONSIEUR 

Une  sentence  de  proscription  rendue  par  les  echevins  de  St.  Omer  centre 
les  conducteurs  61ectriques  m'a  presente  1'occasion  de  plaider  au  conseil 
d'Artois  la  cause  d'une  decouverte  sublime,  dont  le  genre  humain  vous  est 
redevable.  Le  desir  de  contribuer  a  deraciner  les  prejuges  qui  s'opposoient 
a  ses  pr ogres  dans  notre  province  m'a  porte  a  faire  imprimer  le  plaidoyer  que 

1  See  supra,  Vol.  I,  p.  105.  —  ED. 


102        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

j'ai  prononce  dans  cette  affaire.  J'ose  espirer,  Monsieur,  que  vous  daignerer 
recevoir  avec  bonte  un  exemplaire  de  cet  ouvrage,  dont  Pobjet  etoit  d'engager 
mes  concitoiens  a  accepter  un  de  vos  bienfaits;  heureux  d'avoir  pu  Stre  utile 
a  mon  pays,  en  determinant  ses  premiers  magistrats  a  accueillir  cette  im- 
portante  decouverte;  plus  heureux  encore  si  je  puis  joindre  a  cet  avantage 
Phonneur  d'obtenir  le  suffrage  d'un  homme  dont  le  moindre  merite  est  d'etre 
le  plus  illustre  scavant  de  1'univers. 

J'ai  I'honneur  d'Stre  avec  respect 
Monsieur 

Votre  tres  humble 
et  tres  obeissant  serviteur 

A  Arras  le  I  8bre  1783  de  Robespierre,  avocat 

au  conseil  d'Artois. 


1444.    TO  SIR  EDWARD  NEWENHAM1 

Passy,  Oct.  2,  1783. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  have  just  received  your  very  kind  letter  of  the  i6th  past. 
I  rejoice  sincerely  to  hear  of  your  safe  return  to  your  own  coun- 
try, family,  and  friends,  and  of  the  success  of  your  election. 

It  is  a  pleasing  reflection,  arising  from  the  contemplation 
of  our  successful  struggle,  and  the  manly,  spirited,  and  unani- 
mous resolves  at  Dungannon,  that  liberty,  which  some  years 
since  appeared  in  danger  of  extinction,  is  now  regaining  the 
ground  she  had  lost,  that  arbitrary  governments  are  likely 
to  become  more  mild  and  reasonable,  and  to  expire  by  degrees, 
giving  place  to  more  equitable  forms ;  one  of  the  effects  this 
of  the  art  of  printing,  which  diffuses  so  general  a  light,  aug- 
menting with  the  growing  day,  and  of  so  penetrating  a  nature, 
that  all  the  window-shutters  despotism  and  priestcraft  can 
oppose  to  keep  it  out,  prove  insufficient. 

In  answer  to  your  question  respecting  what  may  be  neces- 

1  From  "  The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin,"  Vol.  I, 
p.  454-  — ED. 


1783]  TO   THOMAS  BRAND  HOLLIS  103 

sary  to  fix  a  trade  between  Ireland  and  America,  I  may  ac- 
quaint you  between  ourselves,  that  there  is  some  truth  in  the 
report  you  may  have  heard,  of  our  desiring  to  know  of  Mr. 
Hartley  whether  he  was  empowered  or  instructed  to  include 
Ireland  in  the  treaty  of  commerce  proposed  to  us,  and  of  his 
sending  for  instructions  on  that  head,  which  never  arrived. 
That  treaty  is  yet  open,  may  possibly  be  soon  resumed ;  and 
it  seems  proper,  that  something  should  be  contained  in  it  to 
prevent  the  doubts  and  misunderstandings  that  may  here- 
after arise  on  the  subject,  and  secure  to  Ireland  the  same  ad- 
vantages in  trade  that  England  may  obtain.  You  can  best 
judge  whether  some  law  or  resolution  of  your  Parliament 
may  not  be  of  use  towards  gaining  that  point. 

My  grandson  joins  me  in  wishes  of  every  kind  of  felicity 
for  you,  Lady  Newenham,  and  all  your  amiable  family.  God 
bless  you,  and  give  success  to  your  constant  endeavours  for 
the  welfare  of  your  country.  With  true  and  great  respect  and 

esteem,  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1445.    TO    THOMAS    BRAND  HOLLIS1 

(L.    C.) 
Passy,  near  Paris,  Octor  5,  1783. 

Sm, 

I  received  but  lately  (tho*  sent  in  June)  your  most  valuable 
present  of  the  Memoirs  of  Thomas  Hollis,  Esf,  who  was 
truly,  as  you  describe  him  in  your  letter,  "a  good  Citizen  of 
the  World,  and  a  faithful  Friend  of  America."  America, 

1  Thomas  Brand,  upon  inheriting  the  property  of  Thomas  Hollis,  assumed 
the  name  of  Hollis.  The  Memoirs  of  Thomas  Hollis  were  published  by  Francis 
Blackburne  (1780).  —  ED. 


io4       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

too,  is  extremely  sensible  of  his  Benevolence  and  great  Benefi- 
cence towards  her,  and  will  ever  revere  his  Memory.  These 
Volumes  are  a  Proof  of  what  I  have  sometimes  had  occasion 
to  say,  in  encouraging  People  to  undertake  difficult  Public 
Services,  that  it  is  prodigious  the  quantity  of  Good  that  may  be 
done  by  one  Man,  if  he  will  make  a  Business  of  it.  It  is 
equally  surprizing  to  think  of  the  very  little  that  is  done  by 
many;  for,  such  is  the  general  Frivolity  of  the  Employments 
and  Amusements  of  the  rank  we  call  Gentlemen,  that  every 
Century  may  have  seen  three  successions  of  a  set  of  a  thousand 
each,  in  every  kingdom  of  Europe,  (Gentlemen  too,  of  equal 
or  superior  Fortune,)  no  one  of  which  sets,  in  the  course  of 
their  lives,  has  done  the  good  effected  by  this  Man  alone ! 
Good,  not  only  to  his  own  nation,  and  to  his  cotemporaries, 
but  to  distant  Countries,  and  to  late  Posterity ;  for  such  must 
be  the  effect  of  his  multiplying  and  distributing  Copies  of  the 
Works  of  our  best  English  Writers,  on  Subjects  the  most 
important  to  the  Welfare  of  Society. 

I  knew  him  personally  but  little.  I  sometimes  met  with 
him  at  the  Royal  Society  and  the  Society  of  Arts;  but  he 
appeared  shy  of  my  acquaintance,  tho  he  often  sent  me  valu- 
able Presents,  such  as  Hamilton's  Works,1  Sidney's  Works, 
&c.,  which  are  now  among  the  most  precious  ornaments  of 
my  Library.  We  might  possibly,  if  we  had  been  more  intimate, 
have  concerted  some  useful  operations  together ;  but  he  loved 
to  do  his  good  alone  and  secretly ;  and  I  find  besides,  in  perus- 
ing these  Memoirs,  that  I  was  a  doubtful  Character  with  him. 

1  There  is  here  probably  a  fault  of  memory  in  regard  to  the  name  of  the 
author  ;  or  perhaps  an  error  of  the  press.  The  work  alluded  to,  may  have 
been  "Toland's  Life  of  Milton,"  an  elegant  edition  of  which  was  published  by 
Thomas  Hollis.  —  S. 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  105 

I  do  not  respect  him  less  for  his  Error ;  and  I  am  obliged  to 
the  Editors  for  the  Justice  they  have  done  me.  They  have 
made  a  little  mistake  in  page  400,  where  a  Letter,  which  ap- 
peared in  a  London  Paper,  January  yth,  1768,  is  said  to  have 
been  written  by  Mr.  Adams.  It  was  written  by  me,  and  is  re- 
printed in  Mr.  Vaughan's  Collection  of  my  Political  Pieces, 
p.  231.  This  Eratum  is  of  no  great  importance,  but  may  be 
corrected  in  a  future  Edition. 

I  see  Mr.  Hollis  had  a  Collection  of  curious  Medals.  If 
he  had  been  still  living,  I  should  certainly  have  sent  him  one 
of  the  Medals  that  I  have  caused  to  be  struck  here.  I  think 
the  countenance  of  my  Liberty  would  have  pleased  him. 
I  suppose  you  possess  the  Collection,  and  have  the  same 
taste.  I  beg  you  therefore  to  accept  of  one  of  these  Medals 
as  a  mark  of  my  Respect,  and  believe  me  to  be,  with  sincere 
esteem,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1446.    TO  SIR   JOSEPH  BANKS    (u.  OF  p.) 

Passy,  Oct.  8,  1783 

SIR, 

The  Publick  were  promis'd  a  printed  particular  Account 
of  the  Rise  &  Progress  of  the  Balloon  Invention,  to  be  pub- 
lish'd  about  the  End  of  last  Month.  I  waited  for  it,  to  send 
it  to  you  expecting  it  would  be  more  satisfactory  than  any  thing 
I  could  write ;  but  it  does  not  yet  appear.  We  have  only  at 
present  the  enclos'd  Pamphlet  which  does  not  answer  the 
Expectation  given  us.  I  send  you  with  it  some  Prints.  That 
of  the  Balloon  lately  rais'd  at  Versailles  is  said  to  be  an  exact 
Representation.  I  was  not  present,  but  am  told  it  was  fill'd 
in  about  ten  minutes  by  means  of  burning  Straw.  Some  say 


106       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Water  was  thrown  into  the  Flame,  others  that  it  was  Spirits 
of  Sal  Volatile.  It  was  suppos'd  to  have  risen  about  200 
Toises :  But  did  not  continue  long  at  that  height,  was  car- 
ried horizontally  by  the  Wind  and  descended  gently  as  the  Air 
within  grew  cooler.  So  vast  a  Bulk  when  it  began  to  rise  so 
majestically  in  the  Air,  struck  the  Spectators  with  Surprise 
and  Admiration.  The  Basket  contain'd  a  Sheep,  a  Duck 
&  a  Cock,  who  except  the  Cock  received  no  Hurt  by  the  Fall. 
The  Duke  de  Crillon  made  a  Feast  last  Week  in  the  Bois 
de  Boulogne  just  by  my  Habitation,  on  Occasion  of  the  Birth 
of  two  Spanish  Princes.  After  the  Fireworks,  we  had  a 
Balloon  of  about  5  feet  Diameter,  fill'd  with  permanent  in- 
flammable Air.  It  was  dismiss'd  about  One  o' Clock  in  the 
Morning.  It  carried  under  it  a  large  Lanthorn  with  Inscrip- 
tions on  its  Sides.  The  Night  was  quite  calm  and  clear,  so 
that  it  went  right  up.  The  Appearance  of  the  Light  dimin- 
ish'd  gradually  till  it  appear'd  no  bigger  than  one  of  the 
Stars,  and  in  about  20  minutes  I  lost  sight  of  it  entirely.  It 
fell  the  next  Day  on  the  other  side  of  the  same  Wood  near  the 
Village  Boulogne,  about  half  after  12,  having  been  suspended 
in  the  Air  n  hours  and  a  half.  It  lodg'd  in  a  Tree,  and  was 
torn  in  getting  it  down;  so  that  it  cannot  be  ascertain'd 
whether  it  burst  when  above  or  not,  tho'  that  is  suppos'd. 
Smaller  Repetitions  of  the  Experiment  are  making  every 
day  in  all  Quarters.  Some  of  the  larger  Balloons  that  have 
been  up,  are  preparing  to  be  sent  up  again,  in  a  few  Days ; 
but  I  do  not  hear  of  any  material  Improvements  yet  made 
either  in  the  mechanical  or  chemical  Parts  of  the  Operation. 
Most  is  expected  from  the  new  one  undertaken  upon  Subscrip- 
tion by  Messieurs  Charles  &  Robert,  who  are  Men  of  Science 
and  mechanical  Dexterity.  It  is  to  carry  up  a  Man.  I  send 


1783]  TO  DAVID  HARTLEY  107 

you  enclos'd  the  Proposals,  which  it  is  said  are  already 
subscribed  to  by  a  considerable  Number,  and  likely  to  be 
carried  into  Execution.  If  I  am  well  at  the  Time,  I 
purpose  to  be  present,  being  a  Subscriber  myself,  and  shall 
send  you  an  exact  Account  of  Particulars. 

With   great   Esteem   and   Respect  for  yourself  and   the 
Society ;  I  have  the  honour  to  be, 
Sir, 


1447.     TO    DAVID   HARTLEY1          (p.  c.) 

Passy  Oct  16,  1783 
MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  have  nothing  material  to  write  to  you  respecting  public 
affairs,  but  I  cannot  let  Mr.  Adams  who  will  see  you  go  with- 
out a  line,  to  inquire  after  your  welfare,  to  inform  you  of 
mine,  &  to  assure  you  of  my  constant  respect  and  attachment. 

I  think  with  you,  that  your  Quaker  article  is  a  good  one, 
and  that  men  will  in  time  have  sense  enough  to  adopt  it,  but 
I  fear  that  time  is  not  yet  come. 

What  would  you  think  of  a  proposition,  if  I  sh'd  make  it, 
of  a  family  compact  between  England,  France,  and  America? 
America  wd  be  as  happy  as  the  Sabine  Girls,  if  she  cd  be  the 
means  of  uniting  in  perpetual  peace  her  father  and  her  hus- 
band. What  repeated  follies  are  these  repeated  wars  !  You  do 
not  want  to  conquer  &  govern  one  another.  Why  then  sh'd 
you  continually  be  employed  in  injuring  &  destroying  one 
another?  How  many  excellent  things  might  have  been  done 
to  promote  the  internal  welfare  of  each  country ;  what  Bridges, 
roads,  canals,  and  other  usefull  public  works  &  institutions, 

1  From  the  private  collection  of  Mrs.  L.  Z.  Leiter.  —  ED. 


io8        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

tending  to  the  common  felicity,  might  have  been  made  and 
established  with  the  money  and  men  foolishly  spent  during 
the  last  seven  centuries  by  our  mad  wars  in  doing  one  another 
mischief!  You  are  near  neighbours,  and  each  have  very 
respectable  qualities.  Learn  to  be  quiet  and  to  respect  each 
other's  rights.  You  are  all  Christians.  One  is  The  Most 
Christian  King,  and  the  other  Defender  of  the  Faith.  Mani- 
fest the  propriety  of  these  titles  by  your  future  conduct.  "  By 
this,"  says  Christ,  "shall  all  men  know  that  ye  are  my  Dis- 
ciples, if  ye  love  one  another."  "Seek  peace,  and  ensue  it." 

Adieu. 

Yours  most  affectionately 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1448.    TO    EDWARD  NAIRNE 

Passy,  October  18,  1783. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  your  favour  of  August  14th,1  by  Mr.  Sykes,  with 
the  book  of  directions  for  using  your  patent  electric  machine. 
The  machine  itself  is  also  come  to  hand  in  good  order,  after 
some  delay  on  the  road ;  and  I  think  it  very  ingeniously  con- 
trived indeed ;  I  wish  your  success  in  the  sale  may  be  equal 
to  its  merits.  The  experiments  in  your  pamphlet  gave  me 
pleasure,  and  I  shall  be  glad  to  see  the  account  you  mention 
of  the  shortening  of  wires  by  lightning. 

What  you  have  heard  of  the  eyes  of  sheep  forced  out  by  a 
stroke  of  lightning  which  killed  them,  puts  me  in  mind  of  hav- 
ing formerly  seen  at  Philadelphia  six  horses  all  killed  by  light- 
ning in  a  stable,  every  one  of  whom  appeared  to  have  bled  at 

1  This  letter  is  in  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  DAVID  HARTLEY  109 

the  eyes,  nose,  and  mouth ;  though  I  do  not  recollect  that  any 
of  their  eyes  were  out.1 

You  are  so  good  as  to  consider  how  much  my  time  has  been 
taken  up,  and  to  excuse  on  that  account  my  being  a  bad  corre- 
spondent. Near  three  years  ago  I  began  a  letter  to  you  on  the 
subject  of  hygrometers.  I  had  written  three  folio  pages  of  it, 
when  I  was  interrupted  by  some  business ;  and,  before  I  had 
time  to  finish  it,  I  had  mislaid  it.  I  have  now  found  it,  and, 
having  added  what  I  suppose  I  had  intended  to  add,  I  enclose 
it.  You  can  judge  better  than  myself,  whether  my  idea  of 
such  an  instrument  is  practicable  and  may  be  useful. 

If  you  favour  me  with  another  line,  let  me  know  how  Mrs. 
Nairne  does,  and  your  amiable  children.  With  great  esteem, 
&c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1449.    TO   DAVID  HARTLEY2 

Passy,  Oct.  22,  1783. 

I  received  my  dear  friend's  kind  letter  of  the  4th  instant 
from  Bath  with  your  proposed  temporary  convention,  which 
you  desire  me  to  show  to  my  colleagues.  They  are  both  by 
this  time  in  London,  where  you  will  undoubtedly  see  and  con- 

1  "  I  have  lately  met  with  a  circumstance  of  the  effects  of  Lightning  which  I 
never  heard  of  before.  My  authority  is  part  of  a  letter  from  the  Duke  of 
Marlborough  to  Professor  Hornby  of  Oxford,  who  is  now  at  Ramsgate  for  his 
Health,  where  he  read  it  to  me.  A  Gentleman  told  the  Duke  that  in  the  Storm 
of  Lightning  which  happened  lately  in  Oxfordshire  he  had  several  of  his  Sheep 
killed  under  a  Tree.  I  think  it  was  thirteen,  &  that  when  they  came  to  examine 
them,  they  found  that  everyone  of  them  had  the  Balls  of  their  Eyes  forced  out." 
(Nairne).  — ED. 

a  From  "  The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin,"  Vol.  II,  p. 
408.  —  ED. 


no       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

verse  with  them  on  the  subject.  The  apprehension  you  men- 
tion, that  the  cement  of  the  confederation  may  be  annihilated, 
&c.,  has  not,  I  think,  any  foundation.  There  is  sense  enough 
in  America  to  take  care  of  their  own  china  vase.1  I  see  much 
in  your  papers  about  our  divisions  and  distractions,  but  I 
hear  little  of  them  from  America ;  and  I  know  that  most  of 
the  letters,  said  to  come  from  there  with  such  accounts, 
are  mere  London  fictions.  I  will  consider  attentively  the 
proposition  above  mentioned,  against  the  return  of  my  col- 
leagues, when  I  hope  our  commission  will  have  arrived. 

I  rejoice  to  hear  that  your  dear  sister's  recovery  advances, 
and  that  your  brother  is  well.  Please  to  present  my  affection- 
ate respects  to  them,  and  believe  me  ever  yours,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1450.    TO    ELIAS    BOUDINOT          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Nov.  i,  1783. 

SIR, 

Inclosed  is  a  copy  of  my  last,  which  went  by  the  English 
Pacquet.  I  heard  after  I  wrote  it,  that,  the  French  Packet 
putting  back  by  contrary  winds,  Mr.  Thaxter  had  an  oppor- 
tunity of  getting  on  board  her,  and  that  she  sailed  the  26th  of 
September. 

The  mentioned  new  Commission  is  not  yet  come  to  hand. 
Mr.  Hartley  is  not  returned,  and  I  hear  will  stay  for  the  meet- 
ing of  Parliament,  which  is  to  be  the  nth  instant,  and  not 
come  hither  till  the  Recess  of  the  Christmas  Holidays.  Mr. 
Jay  went  to  England  about  three  weeks  since  on  some  per- 

1  A  reference  to  Franklin's  familiar  comparison  of  the  British  Empire  to  a 
China  vase :  'twere  a  great  pity  to  break  it.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  ELI  AS  BOUDINOT  in 

sonal  affairs ;  and  Mr.  Adams  followed  last  week  to  see  that 
Country,  and  take  some  Exercise  during  the  vacancy  of 
Business. 

This  Court  is  now  at  Fontainebleau,  but  will  return  to  Ver- 
sailles in  a  few  days.  Its  good  Disposition  towards  us  con- 
tinues. The  late  failure  of  payment  in  the  Caisse  d'Escompte, 
an  institution  similar  to  the  Bank  of  England,  occasioned 
partly  by  its  having  gone  too  far  in  assisting  the  government 
with  Money,  and  the  Inability  of  the  Government  to  support 
their  Credit,  tho  extremely  desirous  of  doing  it,  is  a  fresh  Proof 
that  our  not  obtaining  a  farther  Loan  was  not  occasioned 
by  want  of  Good  will  to  assist  us,  as  some  have  unjustly  sup- 
posed, but  by  a  real  want  of  the  Means.  Money  is  at  present 
unaccountably  scarce  here;  what  is  arrived  and  expected  in 
Spain  since  the  Peace,  it  is  thought,  will  set  things  to  rights. 
The  Govern*  has  proposed  a  second  Lottery  for  this  year,  by 
which  they  borrow  24  Millions,  and  it  filled  readily.  This 
helps,  and  the  Caisse  d'Escompte  goes  on  again  with  its 
operations;  but  it  is  said  the  Interest  paid  by  the  Lottery 
Plan  is  nearly  7  per  cent. 

I  have  received  the  Duplicates  of  your  Excellency's  Letter 
of  the  i  $th  July,  to  the  Commissioners,  which  is  very  satis- 
factory, tho'  it  came  to  hand  but  lately.  The  first,  sent  vid 
New  York,  has  not  yet  appeared.  I  have  sent  Copies  of  it 
to  the  Hague  and  Madrid.  The  substance  is  published  in 
several  Papers. 

I  have  acquainted  the  Minister  of  Sweden,  that  I  have 
received  the  Ratification  of  the  Treaty;  and  he  has  writ- 
ten to  me,  that  he  shall  be  in  town  in  a  few  days,  when  he 
will  make  the  Exchange.  The  conclusion  of  the  Danish 
Treaty  waits  only  for  the  Commission  and  Instructions  from 


ii2        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Congress.  The  Ambassador  of  Portugal  informed  me  lately, 
that  his  Court  had  our  proposed  Plan  under  Consideration, 
and  that  we  should  soon  hear  from  them.  I  sent  it  to  Con- 
gress by  Barney,  and  hear  the  Ship  is  arrived.  A  Commis- 
sion and  Instructions  will  be  wanting  for  that  also,  should  the 
Congress  be  disposed  to  conclude  a  Treaty  with  that  Nation. 

I  see  by  the  Public  Prints  that  the  Congress  have  ratified 
the  Contract  I  made  with  the  Minister  here,  respecting  the 
Loans  and  Aids  we  had  received ;  but  the  Ratification  itself, 
tho'  directed  to  be  sent  me,  has  never  come  to  hand,  and  I 
am  often  asked  for  it.  I  beg  it  may  be  forwarded  by  the  first 
opportunity. 

There  has  been  with  me  lately  M.  Pierre  du  Calvet,  a 
Merchant  of  Montreal,  who,  when  our  army  was  in  Canada, 
furnished  our  Generals  and  Officers  with  many  things  they 
wanted,  taking  their  Receipts  and  Promisory  notes  for  pay- 
ment; and,  when  the  English  repossessed  the  Country,  he 
was  imprisoned,  and  his  Estate  seized,  on  account  of  the  ser- 
vices he  had  rendered  us.  He  has  shown  me  the  Originals 
of  his  Papers,  which  I  think  are  genuine.  He  produced  also 
a  quantity  of  Congress  Paper,  which  he  says  he  received  in  pay- 
ment for  some  of  the  Supplies,  and  which  appeared  to  me  of 
our  first  Emissions,  and  yet  all  fresh  and  clean,  as  having 
passed  thro'  no  other  hands.  When  he  was  discharged  from 
Prison,  he  could  not  obtain  permission  to  go  into  the  United 
States  to  claim  the  Debt,  but  was  allowed  to  go  to  England ; 
and  from  thence  he  came  hither  to  sollicit  payment  from  me. 
Having  no  authority  to  meddle  with  such  Debts,  and  the  sum 
being  considerable,  I  refused,  and  advised  him  to  take  Pas- 
sage for  America,  and  make  his  application  to  Congress.  He 
said  he  was  grown  old,  much  broken  and  weakned  by  near 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  113 

three  years*  Imprisonment,  and  that  the  voyage  from  Canada 
to  London  had  like  to  have  been  too  much  for  him,  he  being 
sick  all  the  Way ;  so  that  he  could  not  think  of  another,  tho' 
Distressed  for  want  of  his  Money.  He  appears  an  honest 
Man,  and  his  case  a  hard  one.  I  have  therefore  undertaken 
to  forward  his  Papers,  and  I  beg  leave  to  recommend  them 
to  the  speedy  Consideration  of  Congress,  to  whom  I  request 
you  would  be  pleased  to  present  my  dutiful  respects,  and 
assure  them  of  my  most  faithful  Services.  With  great 

Esteem  and  Regard,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1451.    TO  SIR   JOSEPH  BANKS    (u.  of  p.) 

Passy,  Nov.  21,  1783  — 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  your  friendly  Letter  of  the  7th  Inst.  I  am  glad 
my  Letters  respecting  the  Aerostatic  Experiment  were  not  un- 
acceptable. But  as  more  perfect  Accounts  of  the  Construc- 
tion and  Management  of  that  Machine  have  been  and  will 
be  published  before  your  Transactions,  and  from  which  Ex- 
tracts may  be  made  that  will  be  more  particular  &  therefore 
more  satisfactory,  I  think  it  best  not  to  print  those  Letters. 
I  say  this  in  answer  to  your  Question  for  I  did  not  indeed  write 
them  with  a  view  of  their  being  inserted.  M.  Faujas  de  St. 
Fond  acquainted  me  yesterday,  that  a  Book  on  the  Subject 
which  has  been  long  expected,  will  be  publish'd  in  a  few  Days, 
and  I  shall  send  you  one  of  them.  Enclos'd  is  a  Copy  of  the 
Proces  verbal  taken  of  the  Experiment  made  yesterday  in  the 
Garden  of  the  Queen's  Palace  la  Muette  where  the  Dauphin 
now  resides,  which  being  near  my  House  I  was  present.  This 

VOL.  IX  —  I 


ii4       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

Paper  was  drawn  up  hastily,  &  may  in  some  Places  appear 
to  you  obscure;  therefore  I  shall  add  a  few  explanatory 
Observations. 

This  Balloon  was  larger  than  that  which  went  up  from  Ver- 
sailles, and  carried  the  Sheep,  &c.  Its  Bottom  was  open, 
and  in  the  middle  of  the  Opening  was  fix'd  a  kind  of  Basket 
Grate  in  which  Faggots  and  Sheaves  of  Straw  were  burnt. 
The  Air  rarified  in  passing  thro'  this  Flame  rose  in  the  Bal- 
loon, swell'd  out  its  Sides  &  fill'd  it. 

The  Persons  who  were  plac'd  in  the  Gallery  made  of 
Wicker,  and  attach'd  to  the  Outside  near  the  Bottom,  had 
each  of  them  a  Post  thro'  which  they  could  pass  Sheaves  of 
Straw  into  the  Grate  to  keep  up  the  Flame,  &  thereby  keep 
the  Balloon  full.  When  it  went  over  our  Heads,  we  could  see 
the  Fire  which  was  very  considerable.  As  the  Flame  slack- 
ens, the  rarified  Air  cools  and  condenses,  the  Bulk  of  the  Bal- 
loon diminishes  and  it  begins  to  descend.  If  these  in  the 
Gallery  see  it  likely  to  descend  in  an  improper  Place  they  can, 
by  throwing  on  more  Straw,  &  renewing  the  Flame,  make  it 
rise  again,  and  the  Wind  carries  it  farther. 

La  Machine  poussee  par  le  Vent  s'est  dirigZe  sur  une  des 
Allies  du  Jardin.  That  is,  against  the  Trees  of  one  of  the 
Walks.  The  Gallery  hitch'd  among  the  top  Boughs  of  those 
Trees  which  had  been  cut  and  were  stiff,  while  the  Body  of  the 
Balloon  lean'd  beyond  &  seem'd  likely  to  overset.  I  was 
then  in  great  Pain  for  the  Men,  thinking  them  in  danger  of 
being  thrown  out,  or  burnt;  for  I  expected  that  the  Bal- 
loon being  no  longer  upright,  the  Flame  would  have  laid 
hold  of  the  Inside  that  lean'd  over  it.  But  by  means  of  some 
Cords  that  were  still  attach'd  to  it,  it  was  soon  brought  up- 
right again,  made  to  descend,  &  carried  back  to  its  place.  It 
was  however  much  damag'd. 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  115 

Planant  sur  I'Horizon.  When  they  were  as  high  as  they 
chose  to  be,  they  made  less  Flame,  and  suffer'd  the  Ma- 
chine to  drive  horizontally  with  the  Wind,  of  which  however 
they  felt  very  little,  as  they  went  with  it,  and  as  fast.  They 
say  they  had  a  charming  View  of  Paris  &  its  Environs,  the 
Course  of  the  River,  &c.  but  that  they  were  once  lost,  not 
knowing  what  Part  they  were  over,  till  they  saw  the  Dome 
of  the  Invalids,  which  rectified  their  Ideas.  Probably  while 
they  were  employ'd  in  keeping  up  the  Fire,  the  Machine 
might  turn,  and  by  that  means  they  were  desorienU  as  the 
French  call  it. 

There  was  a  vast  Concourse  of  Gentry  in  the  Garden,  who 
had  great  Pleasure  in  seeing  the  Adventures  go  off  so  chear- 
fully,  &  applauded  them  by  clapping,  &c.  but  there  was  at 
the  same  time  a  good  deal  of  Anxiety  for  their  Safety.  Mul- 
titudes in  Paris  saw  the  Balloon  passing;  but  did  not  know 
there  were  Men  with  it,  it  being  then  so  high  that  they  could 
not  see  them. 

Developant  du  Gaz.  That  is,  in  plain  English,  burning 
more  Straw;  for  tho'  there  is  a  little  Mystery  made,  concern- 
ing the  kind  of  Air  with  which  the  Balloon  is  filFd  I  conceive 
it  to  be  nothing  more  than  hot  Smoke  or  common  Air  rari- 
fy'd,  —  tho'  in  this  I  may  be  mistaken ;  — 

Ayant  encore  dans  leur  Galerie  le  deux  tiers  de  leur  appro- 
visionment.  That  is,  their  Provision  of  Straw;  of  which 
they  carried  up  a  great  Quantity.  It  was  well  that  in  the 
hurry  of  so  hazardous  an  Experiment,  the  Flame  did  not  hap- 
pen by  any  accidental  Mismanagement  to  lay  hold  of  this 
Straw;  tho'  each  had  a  Bucket  of  Water  by  him,  by  way  of 
Precaution. 

One  of  these  courageous  Philosophers,  the  Marquis  d'Ar- 


Ii6      THE   WRITINGS   OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

landes,  did  me  the  Honour  to  call  upon  me  in  the  Evening 
after  the  Experiment  with  Mr.  Mongolfier  the  very  ingenious 
Inventor.  I  was  happy  to  see  him  safe.  He  inform'd  me 
they  lit  gently  without  the  least  Shock,  and  the  Balloon  was 
very  little  damag'd. 

[This  method  of  filling  the  balloon  with  hot  air  is  cheap 
and  expeditious,  and  it  is  supposed  may  be  sufficient  for  cer- 
tain purposes,  such  as  elevating  an  engineer  to  take  a  view 
of  an  enemy's  army,  works,  etc.,  conveying  intelligence  into 
or  out  of  a  besieged  town,  giving  signals  to  distant  places,  or 
the  like. 

[The  other  method  of  filling  a  balloon  with  permanently 
elastic  inflammable  air,  and  then  closing  it,  is  a  tedious  opera- 
tion, and  very  expensive ;  yet  we  are  to  have  one  of  that  kind 
sent  up  in  a  few  days.  It  is  a  globe  of  twenty-six  feet  diameter. 
The  gores  that  compose  it  are  red  and  white  silk,  so  that  it 
makes  a  beautiful  appearance.  A  very  handsome  triumphal 
car  will  be  suspended  to  it,  in  which  Messrs.  Robert,  two 
brothers,  very  ingenious  men,  who  have  made  it  in  concert 
with  Mr.  Charles,  propose  to  go  up.  There  is  room  in 
this  car  for  a  little  table  to  be  placed  between  them,  on  which 
they  can  write  and  keep  their  journal ;  that  is,  take  notes  of 
everything  they  observe,  the  state  of  their  thermometer,  ba- 
rometer, hygrometer,  etc.,  which  they  will  have  more  leisure 
to  do  than  the  others,  having  no  fire  to  take  care  of.  They 
say  they  have  a  contrivance  which  will  enable  them  to  de- 
scend at  pleasure.  I  know  not  what  it  is,  but  the  expense  of 
this  machine,  filling  included,  will  exceed,  it  is  said,  ten  thou- 
sand livres. 

[This  balloon  of  only  twenty-six  feet  diameter,  being  filled 
with  air  ten  times  lighter  than  common  air,  will  carry  up  a 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  117 

greater  weight  than  the  other,  which  though  vastly  bigger, 
was  filled  with  an  air  that  could  scarcely  be  more  than  twice 
as  light.  Thus  the  great  bulk  of  one  of  these  machines,  with 
the  short  duration  of  its  power,  and  the  great  expense  of  fill- 
ing the  other,  will  prevent  the  invention  being  of  so  much  use 
as  some  may  expect,  till  chemistry  can  invent  a  cheaper  light 
air  producible  with  more  expedition. 

[By  the  emulation  between  the  two  parties  running  high,  the 
improvement  in  the  construction  and  management  of  the  bal- 
loons has  already  made  a  rapid  progress,  and  one  cannot  say 
how  far  it  may  go.  A  few  months  since  the  idea  of  witches 
riding  thro*  the  air  upon  a  broomstick,  and  that  of  philoso- 
phers upon  a  bag  of  smoke,  would  have  appeared  equally 
impossible  and  ridiculous. 

[These  machines  must  always  be  subject  to  be  driven  by 
the  winds.  Perhaps  mechanic  art  may  find  easy  means  to 
give  them  progressive  motion  in  a  calm,  and  to  slant  them 
a  little  in  the  wind. 

[I  am  sorry  this  experiment  is  totally  neglected  in  England, 
where  mechanic  genius  is  so  strong.  I  wish  I  could  see  the 
same  emulation  between  the  two  nations  as  I  have  seen  the 
two  parties  here.  Your  philosophy  seems  to  be  too  bashfuL 
In  this  country  we  are  not  so  much  afraid  of  being  laughed  at. 
If  we  do  a  foolish  thing,  we  are  the  first  to  laugh  at  it  ourselves,, 
and  are  almost  as  much  pleased  with  a  bonmot  or  a  good 
chanson,  that  ridicules  well  the  disappointment  of  a  project, 
as  we  might  have  been  with  its  success.  It  does  not  seem 
to  me  a  good  reason  to  decline  prosecuting  a  new  experiment 
which  apparently  increases  the  power  of  a  man  over  matter, 
till  we  can  see  to  what  use  that  power  may  be  applied.  When 
we  have  learnt  to  manage  it,  we  may  hope  some  time  or  other 


Ii8       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

to  find  use  for  it,  as  men  have  done  for  magnetism  and  elec- 
tricity, for  which  the  first  experiments  were  mere  matters  of 
amusement. 

[This  experiment  is  by  no  means  a  trifling  one.  It  may  be 
attended  with  important  consequences  that  no  one  can  fore- 
see. We  should  not  suffer  pride  to  prevent  our  progress  in 
science. 

[Beings  of  a  frank  and  [sic]  nature  far  superior  to  ours  have 
not  disdained  to  amuse  themselves  with  making  and  launch- 
ing balloons,  otherwise  we  should  never  have  enjoyed  the  light 
of  those  glorious  objects  that  rule  our  day  and  night,  nor  have 
had  the  pleasure  of  riding  round  the  sun  ourselves  upon  the 
balloon  we  now  inhabit. 

[With  great  and  sincere  esteem,  I  am,  dear  sir,  your  most 
obedient  and  most  humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Nov.  25th.  — The  proce*s  verbal  to  which  this  letter 
relates  went  by  last  post.  I  have  now  got  the  within  men- 
tioned book,  but  it  being  too  bulky  to  send  by  post,  I  shall 
try  to  get  it  forwarded  to  you  by  the  Duke  of  Manchester's 
courier,  who  goes  usually  on  Thursdays.  I  enclose  one  of 
the  plates  of  it,  which  gives  a  perfect  representation  of  the 
last  great  balloon.  You  can  put  it  in  its  place  when  you 
receive  the  book.  B.  F.] l 

1  The  paragraphs  enclosed  in  brackets  are  not  found  in  the  draft  in  U.  of 
P.,  but  exist  in  a  letter  press  copy  now  (March,  1906)  owned  by  Dodd,  Mead, 
&  Co.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  119 

1452.    TO   SIR   JOSEPH   BANKS l         (P.  c.) 

Passy,  December  i.  1783. 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  In  mine  of  yesterday  I  promised  to  give  you 
an  account  of  Messrs.  Charles  &  Robert's  experiment,  which 
was  to  have  been  made  this  day,  and  at  which  I  intended  to 
be  present.  Being  a  little  indisposed,  and  the  air  cool,  and 
the  ground  damp,  I  declined  going  into  the  garden  of  the 
Tuileries,  where  the  balloon  was  placed,  not  knowing  how 
long  I  might  be  obliged  to  wait  there  before  it  was  ready  to 
depart,  and  chose  to  stay  in  my  carriage  near  the  statue  of 
Louis  XV.,  from  whence  I  could  well  see  it  rise,  and  have  an 
extensive  view  of  the  region  of  air  through  which,  as  the  wind 
sat,  it  was  likely  to  pass.  The  morning  was  foggy,  but  about 
one  o'clock  the  air  became  tolerably  clear,  to  the  great  satis- 
faction of  the  spectators,  who  were  infinite,  notice  having 
been  given  of  the  intended  experiment  several  days  before  in 
the  papers,  so  that  all  Paris  was  out,  either  about  the  Tuileries, 
on  the  quays  and  bridges,  in  the  fields,  the  streets,  at  the  win- 
dows, or  on  the  tops  of  houses,  besides  the  inhabitants  of  all 
the  towns  and  villages  of  the  environs.  Never  before  was  a 
philosophical  experiment  so  magnificently  attended.  Some 
guns  were  fired  to  give  notice  that  the  departure  of  the  balloon 
was  near,  and  a  small  one  was  discharged,  which  went  to  an 
amazing  height,  there  being  but  little  wind  to  make  it  deviate 
from  its  perpendicular  course,  and  at  length  the  sight  of  it  was 
lost.  Means  were  used,  I  am  told,  to  prevent  the  great  bal- 
loon's rising  so  high  as  might  endanger  its  bursting.  Several 

1  Letter  press  copy  in  possession  of  Dodd,  Mead,  &  Co.  —  ED. 


120       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

bags  of  sand  were  taken  on  board  before  the  cord  that  held 
it  down  was  cut,  and  the  whole  weight  being  then  too  much 
to  be  lifted,  such  a  quantity  was  discharged  as  to  permit  its 
rising  slowly.  Thus  it  would  sooner  arrive  at  that  region 
where  it  would  be  in  equilibrio  with  the  surrounding  air, 
and  by  discharging  more  sand  afterwards,  it  might  go  higher 
if  desired.  Between  one  and  two  o'clock,  all  eyes  were  grati- 
fied with  seeing  it  rise  majestically  from  among  the  trees, 
and  ascend  gradually  above  the  buildings,  a  most  beautiful 
spectacle.  When  it  was  about  two  hundred  feet  high,  the 
brave  adventurers  held  out  and  waved  a  little  white  pen- 
nant, on  both  sides  their  car,  to  salute  the  spectators,  who  re- 
turned loud  claps  of  applause.  The  wind  was  very  little, 
so  that  the  object  though  moving  to  the  northward,  continued 
long  in  view;  and  it  was  a  great  while  before  the  admiring 
people  began  to  disperse.  The  persons  embarked  were  Mr. 
Charles,  professor  of  experimental  philosophy,  and  a  zealous 
promoter  of  that  science ;  and  one  of  the  Messieurs  Robert, 
the  very  ingenious  constructors  of  the  machine.  When  it 
arrived  at  its  height,  which  I  suppose  might  be  three  or  four 
hundred  toises,  it  appeared  to  have  only  horizontal  motion. 
I  had  a  pocket-glass,  with  which  I  followed  it,  till  I  lost  sight 
first  of  the  men,  then  of  the  car,  and  when  I  last  saw  the  bal- 
loon, it  appeared  no  bigger  than  a  walnut.  I  write  this  at 
seven  in  the  evening.  What  became  of  them  is  not  yet  known 
here.  I  hope  they  descended  by  daylight,  so  as  to  see  and 
avoid  falling  among  trees  or  on  houses,  and  that  the  experiment 
was  completed  without  any  mischievous  accident,  which  the 
novelty  of  it  and  the  want  of  experience  might  well  occasion. 
I  am  the  more  anxious  for  the  event,  because  I  am  not  well 
informed  of  the  means  provided  for  letting  themselves  down, 


1783]  TO  SIR  JOSEPH  BANKS  121 

and  the  loss  of  these  very  ingenious  men  would  not  only 
be  a  discouragement  to  the  progress  of  the  art,  but  be  a  sensi- 
ble loss  to  science  and  society. 

I  shall  enclose  one  of  the  tickets  of  admission,  on  which  the 
globe  was  represented,  as  originally  intended,  but  is  altered 
by  the  pen  to  show  its  real  state  when  it  went  off.  When  the 
tickets  were  engraved  the  car  was  to  have  been  hung  to  the 
neck  of  the  globe,  as  represented  by  a  little  drawing  I  have 
made  in  the  corner. 

I  suppose  it  may  have  been  an  apprehension  of  danger  in 
straining  too  much  the  balloon  or  tearing  the  silk,  that 
induced  the  constructors  to  throw  a  net  over  it,  fixed  to  a 
hoop  which  went  round  its  middle,  and  to  hang  the  car  to 
that  hoop. 

Tuesday  morning,  December  2d.  —  I  am  relieved  from  my 
anxiety  by  hearing  that  the  adventurers  descended  well  near 
L'Isle  Adam  before  sunset.  This  place  is  near  seven  leagues 
from  Paris.  Had  the  wind  blown  fresh  they  might  have  gone 
much  farther. 

If  I  receive  any  further  particulars  of  importance,  I  shall 
communicate  them  hereafter. 

With  great  esteem,  I  am,  dear  sir,  your  most  obedient 
and  most  humble  servant,  B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Tuesday  evening.  —  Since  writing  the  above  I  have 
received  the  printed  paper  and  the  manuscript  containing 
some  particulars  of  the  experiment,  which  I  enclose.  I  hear 
further  that  the  travellers  had  perfect  command  of  their  car- 
riage, descending  as  they  pleased  by  letting  some  of  the  in- 
flammable air  escape,  and  rising  again  by  discharging  some 
sand ;  that  they  descended  over  a  field  so  low  as  to  talk  with 


122       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

the  labourers  in  passing,  and  mounted  again  to  pass  a  hill. 
The  little  balloon  falling  at  Vincennes  shows  that  mounting 
higher  it  met  with  a  current  of  air  in  a  contrary  direction,  an 
observation  that  may  be  of  use  to  future  aerial  voyagers. 


1453.    TO  HENRY  LAURENS  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Dec.  6.  1783. 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  the  28th  past, 
and  I  send  you  herewith  the  anonymous  Brussels  Letter,  as 
you  desire.1  When  I  had  last  the  Pleasure  of  seeing  you  at 
Passy,  I  forgot  to  mention  to  you  that  Mr.  Ridley,  soon  after 
your  Departure  for  the  south  of  France,  calPd  upon  me  with 
a  Request  that  I  would  let  him  see  that  Letter,  and  then  that 
I  would  let  him  take  it  home  with  him,  which  I  comply'd 
with,  understanding  it  was  to  show  it  to  Mr.  Adams.  Some 
Days  after  he  acquainted  me  that  the  Handwriting  was  like 
that  of  M.  de  Neufville's  Clerk,  and  propos'd  to  have  it  com- 
pared with  some  of  Neufville's  Letters  in  my  Possession,  which 
at  his  Desire  I  lent  him.  When  he  return'd  them  he  remarked 
some  Similarities,  which  I  did  not  think  very  striking.  What 
appeared  most  so  to  me  at  the  time  was  the  very  long  Stroke 
or  Dash  of  the  Pen  across  the  Top  of  the  small  /,  thus  /,  tho' 
I  did  not  think  that  conclusive;  and  I  have  since  observed 
it  to  be  a  more  general  Practice  in  Writing  than  I  imagin'd. 
I  indeed  seldom  make  that  Mark  to  my  *'s,  except  when  they 
are  double ;  Yet  I  find  when  I  do  make  it,  it  is  nearly  as  long 
as  in  the  Brussels  Letter;  and  I  see  in  your  last  that  you  do 

1  The  letter  from  Charles  de  Weissenstein.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  HENRY  LAURENS  123 

the  same,  the  Dash  sometimes  passing  over  the  whole  word  in 
which  the  /  is  placed.  I  saw  neither  Mr.  Barclay  nor  Mr. 
Adams  on  that  Occasion,  but  Mr.  Ridley  only.  I  suppose  the 
Opinion  you  mention  as  pronounc'd,  might  be  by  them  at 
Auteuil.  I  enclose  the  other  anonymous,  and  the  two  Letters 
of  Neufville,  that  you  may  compare  them  and  judge  for 
yourself. 

We  think  of  nothing  here  at  present  but  of  Flying ;  the  Bal- 
loons engross  all  Conversation.  Messrs.  Charles  and  Robert 
made  a  Trip  last  Monday  thro'  the  Air  to  a  Place  farther  dis- 
tant than  Dover  is  from  Calais ;  and  could  have  gone  much 
farther  if  there  had  been  more  Wind  and  Daylight.  They 
have  perfect  Command  of  the  Machine,  descending  and  rising 
again  at  pleasure.  The  Progress  made  in  the  Management 
of  it  has  been  rapid,  yet  I  fear  it  will  hardly  become  a  common 
Carriage  in  my  time,  tho'  being  the  easiest  of  all  Voitures  it 
would  be  extreamly  convenient  to  me,  now  that  my  Malady 
forbids  the  Use  of  the  old  ones  over  a  Pavement. 

The  kind  Enquiry  made  respecting  me  by  the  Person  you 
mention  does  not  surprize  me.  He  is  so  unequal  in  his  Tem- 
per, and  so  different  from  himself  on  different  Occasions,  that 
I  should  not  wonder  if  he  sometimes  lov'd  me. 

The  promis'd  Commission  is  not  yet  come  to  my  hands, 
nor  have  I  any  Advices  from  the  Congress  later  than  the  Qth 
of  September. 

My  Grandson  joins  me  in  affectionate  Respects  to  you  and 
Miss  Laurens,  and  best  Wishes  for  your  Health  and  Pros- 
perity. With  great  and  sincere  Esteem  I  am  ever,  etc., 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


124      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 


1454.    TO   COMTE   DE  VERGENNES 

(P.  A.  E.  E.  U.) 
(L.   C.) 
Passy,  December  6,  1783. 

SIR,  Being  now  disabled  by  the  Stone  which  in  the  easiest 
Carriage  gives  me  Pain,  wounds  my  Bladder,  and  occasions 
me  to  make  bloody  Urine,  I  find  I  can  no  longer  pay  my 
Devoirs  personally  at  Versailles,  which  I  hope  will  be  excused. 
I  have  yet  received  from  Congress  no  Answer  to  my  Request 
of  being  recall'd.  In  the  meantime  I  must  beg  your  Excel- 
lency to  receive  my  Respects  by  my  Grandson,  with  such 
Matters  as  I  may  occasionally  have  to  communicate,  he  being 
Secretary  of  the  Legation.  I  am,  with  great  and  sincere 
Respect,  sir,  etc.,  B.  FRANKLIN. 

1455.    TO  WILLIAM  HODGSON     (A.  p.  s.) 
DEAR  SIR  Passy  Dec.  10. 1783 

Having  represented  to  Congress  the  Services  rendered  to 
our  Prisoners  by  the  Rev?  Mr  Wren,  I  have  the  Pleasure  of 
transmitting  their  Thanks,  together  with  a  Diploma  from  the 
College  at  Princetown,1  which  I  beg  you  would  forward  to  him 
with  my  Respects.  I  shall  not  fail  to  recommend  my  Friend 
for  the  Consulship,2  being  with  unalterable  Esteem  &  Affec- 
tion TV  c. 
Dear  Sir, 

Your  most  o.  &  m.  h.  S. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

Charge  me  with  this  Postage  &  that  to  Portsmouth 

1  See  letter  to  Robert  R.  Livingston,  July  22,  1783.  —  ED. 

2  See  this  recommendation  in  a  letter  to  Thomas  Mifflin,  President  of  Con- 
gress, December  26,  1783.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  125 

1456.    TO   SIR   JOSEPH   BANKS     (u.  of  P.) 

Passy,  Dec.  15.  1783 

DEAR  SIR, 

You  have  probably  had  enough  of  my  Correspondence 
on  the  Subject  of  the  Balloons,  yet  I  cannot  forbear  sending 
you  Mr  Charles's  Account  of  his  Voyage,  which  contains  some 
Circumstances  that  are  curious  &  Interesting.  And  per- 
haps you  may  for  a  Conclusion  have  one  more  Letter  from  me 
by  him,  if  he  makes  the  Flight  said  to  be  intended  the  first 
fair  Wind  from  Paris  to  London. 
With  great  Esteem,  I  am  ever  Dear  Sir, 

Your  most  obedient 

Servant 
B.  FRANKLIN. 

1457.    TO   COMTE   DE  VERGENNES     (P.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  December  15,  1783 

SIR:  —  I  understand  that  the  bishop  or  spiritual  person 
who  superintends  or  governs  the  Roman  Catholic  clergy 
in  the  United  States  of  America  resides  in  London,  and  is 
supposed  to  be  under  obligations  to  that  court,  and  subject 
to  be  influenced  by  its  ministers.  This  gives  me  some  uneasi- 
ness, and  I  cannot  but  wish  that  one  should  be  appointed  to 
that  office  who  is  of  this  nation  and  who  may  reside  there 
among  our  friends.  I  beg  your  Excellency  to  think  a  little  of 
this  matter,  and  to  afford  me  your  counsels  upon  it.1  With 
the  greatest  respect,  I  am,  sir,  etc.,  R  FRANKLIN. 

1  The  vicar-apostolic  of  London  at  this  time  had  ecclesiastical  jurisdiction 
over  the  Roman  Catholics  of  the  United  States.  The  fear  of  the  inOuence 


126      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

1458.    TO   WILLIAM   CARMICHAEL1 

Passy,  December  15,  1783. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  am  much  concerned  to  find  by  your  letter  to  my  grandson, 
that  you  are  hurt  by  my  long  silence,  and  that  you  ascribe  it 
to  a  supposed  diminution  of  my  friendship.  Believe  me,  that 
is  by  no  means  the  case ;  but  I  am  too  much  harassed  by  a 
variety  of  correspondence,  together  with  gout  and  gravel, 
which  induce  me  to  postpone  doing  what  I  often  fully  intend 
to  do,  and  particularly  writing,  where  the  urgent  necessity  of 
business  does  not  seem  to  require  its  being  done  immediately, 
my  sitting  too  much  at  the  desk  having  already  almost  killed 
me;  besides,  since  Mr.  Jay's  residence  here,  I  imagined  he 
might  keep  you  fully  informed  of  what  was  material  for  you 
to  know;  and  I  beg  you  to  be  assured  of  my  constant  and 
sincere  esteem  and  affection. 

I  do  not  know  whether  you  have  been  informed,  that  a  Mr. 
Montgomery,  who  lives  at  Alicant,  took  upon  himself  (for 
I  think  he  had  no  authority)  to  make  overtures  last  winter, 
in  behalf  of  our  States,  towards  a  treaty  with  the  Emperor  of 
Morocco.  In  consequence  of  his  proceedings  I  received  a 
letter  in  August  from  a  person,  who  acquainted  me,  that  he 
was  arrived  in  Spain  by  the  Emperor's  order,  and  was  to  come 
to  Paris,  there  to  receive  and  conduct  to  Morocco  the  minister 

which  the  English  spiritual  head  might  exert  over  the  Irish  Catholics  caused 
Franklin  to  write  this  letter  to  Count  de  Vergennes,  and  also  to  consult  upon 
the  same  subject  with  M*.  de  Cice,  archbishop  of  Bordeaux.  Rev.  John 
Carroll  was  appointed  superior  of  the  clergy  of  the  United  States  in  1784.  — 
ED. 

1  From  "  Diplomatic  Correspondence  "  (Sparks),  Vol.  II,  p.  492.—  ED. 


1783]  TO    WILLIAM  CARMICHAEL  127 

of  Congress  appointed  to  make  that  treaty,  intimating  at  the 
same  time  an  expectation  of  money  to  defray  his  expenses. 
I  communicated  the  letter  to  Mr.  Jay.  The  conduct  of  Mr. 
Montgomery  appeared  to  us  very  extraordinary  and  irregular ; 
and  the  idea  of  a  messenger  from  Morocco  coming  to  Paris 
to  meet  and  conduct  a  minister  of  Congress,  appearing  absurd 
and  extravagant,  as  well  as  the  demand  of  money  by  a  person 
unknown,  I  made  no  answer  to  the  letter;  and  I  know  not 
whether  Mr.  Jay  made  any  to  Mr.  Montgomery,  who  wrote 
about  the  same  time.  But  I  have  lately  received  another 
letter  from  the  same  person,  a  copy  of  which  I  enclose,  to- 
gether with  my  answer  open  for  your  perusal,  and  it  is  sub- 
mitted to  your  discretion  whether  to  forward  it  or  not.  The 
Mr.  CroccOy  who  writes  to  me,  having  been,  as  he  says,  at 
Madrid,  you  possibly  may  know  more  of  him  than  I  can,  and 
judge  whether  he  is  really  a  person  in  credit  with  the  Emperor, 
and  sent  as  he  pretends  to  be,  or  not  rather  an  Escroc,  as  the 
French  call  cheats  and  impostors. 

I  would  not  be  wanting  in  any  thing  proper  for  me  to  do 
towards  keeping  that  Prince  in  good  humour  with  us,  till  the 
pleasure  of  Congress  is  known,  and  therefore  would  answer 
Mr.  Crocco,  if  he  be  in  his  employ;  but  am  loth  to  commit 
myself  in  correspondence  with  a  jripon.  It  will  be  strange,  if, 
being  at  Madrid,  he  did  not  address  himself  to  you.  With 
great  and  unalterable  regard,  I  am  ever,  my  dear  friend,  yours 
most  affectionately,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


128       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

1459.    TO   GIACOMO   FRANCESCO   CROCCO l 

Paris,  December  15,  1783. 
SIR, 

I  have  just  received  the  letter  you  did  me  the  honour  of 
writing  to  me  the  25th  past.  I  did  indeed  receive  your  former 
letter  of  July,  but,  being  totally  a  stranger  to  the  mentioned 
proceedings  of  Mr.  Montgomery,2  and  having  no  orders  from 
Congress  on  the  subject,  I  knew  not  how  to  give  you  any  satis- 
factory answer,  till  I  should  receive  further  information ;  and 
I  communicated  your  letter  to  Mr.  Jay,  minister  of  the  United 
States  for  Spain,  in  whose  district  Mr.  Montgomery  is,  and 
who  is  more  at  hand  than  I  am  for  commencing  that  negotia- 
tion. 

Mr.  Jay,  who  is  at  present  in  England,  has  possibly  writ- 
ten to  you,  though  his  letter  may  have  miscarried,  to  acquaint 
you,  that  Mr.  Montgomery  had  probably  no  authority  from 
Congress  to  take  the  step  he  has  done,  and  that  it  was  not 
likely,  that  they,  desiring  to  make  a  treaty  with  the  Emperor, 
would  think  of  putting  his  Majesty  to  the  trouble  of  sending 
a  person  to  Paris  to  receive  and  conduct  their  minister,  since 
they  have  ships,  and  could  easily  land  him  at  Cadiz,  or  present 
him  at  one  of  the  Emperor's  ports.  We  have,  however,  writ- 
ten to  Congress,  acquainting  them  with  what  we  had  been 
informed  of  the  good  and  favourable  disposition  of  his  Im- 
perial Majesty  to  enter  into  a  treaty  of  amity  and  commerce 
with  the  United  States;  and  we  have  no  doubt  but  that,  as 

1  From  "  Diplomatic  Correspondence  of  the  United  States"  (Sparks),  Vol. 
I,  P-  373- —ED. 

2  Robert  Montgomery  of  Alicant.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO   THOMAS  MIFFLIN  129 

soon  as  their  affairs  are  a  little  settled,  which,  by  so  severe  a 
war  carried  on  in  the  bowels  of  their  country  by  one  of  the 
most  powerful  nations  of  Europe,  have  necessarily  been  much 
deranged,  they  will  readily  manifest  equally  good  dispositions, 
and  take  all  the  proper  steps  to  cultivate  and  secure  the  friend- 
ship of  a  monarch,  whose  character  I  know  they  have  long 

esteemed  and  respected.     I  am,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1460.     TO   THOMAS   MIFFLIN1          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Dec.  25,  1783. 

SIR, 

Not  having  heard  of  the  Appointment  of  a  new  Secretary 
for  foreign  Affairs,  I  take  the  Liberty  of  addressing  this  De- 
spatch directly  to  your  Excellency.  I  received  by  Capt. 
Barney  a  Letter  from  the  late  President,  directed  to  the  Com- 
missioners, dated  November  the  i ,  with  a  Set  of  Instructions, 
dated  the  2Qth  of  October,  a  Resolution  of  the  same  Date 
respecting  Hamburgh,  and  another  of  the  ist  of  November, 
relating  to  Capt.  Paul  Jones,  all  which  will  be  duly  regarded. 

Capt.  Jones,  in  passing  thro'  England,  communicated  these 
Papers  to  Mr.  Adams,  then  at  London.  Mr.  Adams,  dis- 
appointed hi  not  finding  among  them  the  Commission  we 
had  been  made  to  expect,  empowering  us  to  make  a  Treaty 
of  Commerce  with  England,  wrote  to  me,  that  he  imagin'd 
it  might  be  contain'd  in  a  Packet  that  was  directed  to  me,  and 
requested  to  be  immediately  informed ;  adding,  that,  in  case 
no  such  Commission  was  come,  he  should  depart  directly 
for  Holland;  so  I  suppose  he  is  now  there.  Mr.  Laurens 

1  Elected  President  of  Congress,  November  3,  1783. —  ED. 
VOL.  IT — K 


I3o       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

is  gone  to  England,  with  an  Intention  of  embarking  soon  for 
America.  Mr.  Jay  is  at  Bath,  but  expected  here  daily. 
The  English  Ministers,  the  Duke  of  Manchester  and  Mr. 
Hartley,  are  both  at  present  in  Parliament.  As  soon  as 
either  of  them  return,  we  shall  endeavour  to  obtain  an 
additional  Article  to  the  Treaty,  explaining  that  mentioned 
in  the  Instructions. 

The  Affairs  of  Ireland  are  still  unsettled.  The  Parliament 
and  Volunteers  are  at  variance ;  the  latter  are  uneasy,  that, 
in  the  late  Negociations  for  a  Treaty  of  Commerce  between 
England  and  America,  the  British  Ministers  had  made  no 
mention  of  Ireland,  and  they  seem  to  desire  a  separate  Treaty 
of  Commerce  between  America  and  that  kingdom. 

It  was  certainly  disagreable  to  the  English  Ministers,  that 
all  their  Treaties  for  Peace  were  carried  on  under  the  Eye  of 
the  French  Court.  This  began  to  appear  towards  the  Conclu- 
sion, when  Mr.  Hartley  refus'd  going  to  Versailles,  to  sign 
there  with  the  other  Powers  our  definitive  Treaty,  and  in- 
sisted on  its  being  done  at  Paris,  which  we  in  good  humour 
comply'd  with,  but  at  an  earlier  Hour,  that  we  might  have 
time  to  acquaint  le  Comte  de  Vergennes  before  he  was  to 
sign  with  the  Duke  of  Manchester. 

The  Dutch  Definitive  was  not  then  ready,  and  the  British 
Court  now  insists  on  finishing  it  either  at  London  or  the  Hague. 
If,  therefore,  the  Commission  to  us,  which  has  been  so  long 
delay'd,  is  still  intended,  perhaps  it  will  be  well  to  instruct  us 
to  treat  either  here  or  at  London,  as  we  may  find  most  con- 
venient. 

The  Treaty  may  be  conducted,  even  there,  in  Concert 
and  in  the  Confidence  of  Communication  with  the  Ministers 
of  our  Friends,  whose  Advice  may  be  of  Use  to  us. 


1783]  TO  THOMAS  MIFFLIN*  131 

With  respect  to  the  British  Court,  we  should,  I  think, 
be  constantly  upon  our  Guard,  and  impress  strongly  upon  our 
Minds,  that,  tho'  it  has  made  Peace  with  us,  it  is  not  in  truth 
reconcil'd  either  to  us,  or  to  its  loss  of  us,  but  still  flatters  itself 
with  Hopes,  that  some  Change  in  the  Affairs  of  Europe,  or 
some  Disunion  among  ourselves,  may  afford  them  an  Oppor- 
tunity of  Recovering  their  Dominion,  punishing  those  who 
have  most  offended,  and  securing  our  future  Dependence. 
It  is  easy  to  see  by  the  general  Turn  of  the  Ministerial  News- 
papers (light  things,  indeed,  as  Straws  and  Feathers,  but  like 
them  they  show  which  way  the  Wind  blows),  and  by  the  ma- 
lignant Improvement  their  Ministers  make,  in  all  the  Foreign 
Courts,  of  every  little  Accident  or  Dissension  among  us,  the 
Riot  of  a  few  Soldiers  at  Philadelphia,  the  Resolves  of  some 
Town  Meetings,  the  Reluctance  to  pay  Taxes,  &c.,  all  which 
are  exaggerated,  to  represent  our  Government  as  so  many 
Anarchies,  of  which  the  People  themselves  are  weary,  and  the 
Congress  as  having  lost  its  Influence,  being  no  longer  re- 
spected ;  I  say  it  is  easy  to  see  from  this  Conduct,  that  they 
bear  us  no  good  Will,  and  that  they  wish  the  Reality  of  what 
they  are  pleas'd  to  imagine.  They  have,  too,  a  numerous 
Royal  Progeny  to  provide  for,  some  of  whom  are  educated  in 
the  military  Line.  In  these  Circumstances  we  cannot  be 
too  careful  to  preserve  the  Friendships  we  have  acquired 
abroad,  and  the  Union  we  have  established  at  home,  to  secure 
our  Credit  by  a  punctual  Discharge  of  our  Obligations  of 
every  kind,  and  our  Reputation  by  the  wisdom  of  our  Coun- 
cils :  Since  we  know  not  how  soon  we  may  have  a  fresh  Occa- 
sion for  Friends,  for  Credit,  and  for  Reputation. 

The  extravagant  Misrepresentations  of  our  Political  State 
::n  foreign  Countries,  made  it  appear  necessary  to  give  them 


I32      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN      [1783 

better  Information,  which  I  thought  could  not  be  more  effec- 
tually and  authentically  done,  than  by  publishing  a  Transla- 
tion into  French,  now  the  most  general  Language  in  Europe, 
of  the  Book  of  Constitutions,  which  had  been  printed  by  Order 
of  Congress.  This  I  accordingly  got  well  done,  and  presented 
two  Copies,  handsomely  bound,  to  every  foreign  Minister 
here,  one  for  himself,  the  other  more  elegant  for  his  Sover- 
eign. It  has  been  well  taken,  and  has  afforded  Matter  of 
Surprise  to  many,  who  had  conceived  mean  Ideas  of  the  State 
of  Civilization  in  America,  and  could  not  have  expected  so 
much  political  Knowledge  and  Sagacity  had  existed  in  our  Wil- 
dernesses. And  from  all  Parts  I  have  the  satisfaction  to  hear, 
that  our  Constitutions  in  general  are  much  admired.  I  am 
persuaded,  that  this  Step  will  not  only  tend  to  promote  the 
Emigration  to  our  Country  of  substantial  People  from  all 
Parts  of  Europe,  by  the  numerous  Copies  I  shall  disperse, 
but  will  facilitate  our  future  Treaties  with  foreign  Courts, 
who  could  not  before  know  what  kind  of  Government  and 
People  they  had  to  treat  with.  As,  in  doing  this,  I  have 
endeavoured  to  further  the  apparent  Views  of  Congress  in 
the  first  Publication,  I  hope  it  may  be  approved,  and  the 
Expence  allowed.  I  send  herewith  one  of  the  Copies. 

Our  Treaties  with  Denmark  and  Portugal  remain  unfin- 
ish'd,  for  want  of  Instructions  respecting  them  from  Congress, 
and  a  Commission  empowering  some  Minister  or  Ministers 
to  conclude  them.  The  Emperor  of  Morocco,  we  understand, 
has  expressed  a  Disposition  to  make  a  Treaty  of  Amity  and 
Commerce  with  the  United  States.  A  Mr.  Montgomery, 
who  is  a  Merchant  settled  at  Alicant,  has  been,  it  seems, 
rather  forward  in  proposing  a  Negociation,  without  Authority 
for  so  doing,  and  has  embarrass'd  us  a  little,  as  may  be  seen 


1783]  TO   THOMAS  MIFFLIN  133 

by  some  Letters  I  enclose.1  Perhaps  it  would  be  well  for 
the  Congress  to  send  a  Message  to  that  Prince,  expressing 
their  Respect  and  Regard  for  him,  till  such  time  as  they  may 
judge  it  convenient  to  appoint  an  Ambassador  in  form,  fur- 
nish'd  with  proper  Presents,  to  make  a  Treaty  with  him.  The 
other  Barbary  States,  too,  seem  to  require  Consideration,  if  we 
propose  to  carry  on  any  Trade  in  the  Mediterranean ;  but, 
whether  the  Security  of  that  Trade  is  of  sufficient  importance 
to  be  worth  purchasing  at  the  Rate  of  the  Tributes  usually 
exacted  by  those  piratical  States,  is  a  matter  of  doubt,  on  which 
I  cannot  at  present  form  a  Judgment. 

I  shall  immediately  proceed,  in  pursuance  of  the  first  In- 
struction, to  take  the  proper  Steps  for  acquainting  his  Imperial 
Majesty  of  Germany  with  the  Dispositions  of  Congress,  hav- 
ing some  reason  to  believe  the  Overture  may  be  acceptable. 
His  Minister  here  is  of  late  extreamly  civil  to  me,  and  we  are 
on  very  good  Terms.  I  have  likewise  an  intimate  Friend  at 
that  Court. 

With  respect  to  other  Powers,  it  seems  best  not  to  make 
Advances  at  present,  but  to  meet  and  encourage  them  when 
made,  which  I  shall  not  fail  to  do,  as  I  have  already  done 
those  of  Sweden,  Denmark,  and  Portugal.  Possibly  Ham- 
burgh, to  whom  I  have  forwarded  the  Letter  of  Congress, 
may  send  a  Minister  to  America,  if  they  wish  for  a  Treaty, 
to  conclude  it  there.  They  have  no  Minister  here. 

I  have  lately  receiv'd  a  Memorial  from  the  Minister  of  Den- 
mark, respecting  a  Ship  of  that  Nation,  the  Providentia, 
taken  by  one  of  our  Privateers  and  carried  into  Boston.  I  en- 
close a  Copy  of  it,  and  request  to  be  furnished  with  Direc- 
tions and  Informations  for  the  answer.  It  may  be  well  to 

1  The  letters  from  G.  F.  Crocco.  —  ED. 


I34      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

send  me  a  Copy  of  the  Proceedings  in  the  Courts.  From  a 
Perusal  of  the  Papers  communicated  with  it,  I  am  satisfied 
that  the  Cargo  was  clearly  British  Property. 

We  have  hitherto  enter'd  into  no  Engagements  respecting 
the  arm'd  Neutrality,  and,  in  obedience  to  the  fifth  Instruction, 
we  shall  take  care  to  avoid  them  hereafter.  The  Treaty 
between  this  Court  and  the  United  States,  for  regulating  the 
Powers,  Privileges,  &c.  of  Consuls,  is  at  length  compleated, 
and  is  transcribing  in  order  to  be  signed.  I  hope  to  transmit 
a  Copy  by  the  next  Packet.  I  have  received  the  Congress 
Ratification  of  the  two  Money  Treaties,  which  will  be  soon 
exchanged,  when  I  shall  send  Copies  of  them  with  that  of 
Sweden. 

I  have  given,  and  shall  continue  to  give,  Capt.  Paul  Jones 
all  the  Assistance  in  my  Power,  towards  Recovering  the  Prize 
Money;  and  I  hope  it  may  soon  be  accomplish'd. 

When  Mr.  Jay  returns,  I  shall  desire  him  to  make  the 
Enquiry  directed  in  the  fourth  Instruction,  respecting  the 
Expedition  under  that  Commodore,  and  report  thereon  to 
Congress.  In  the  mean  time  I  can  answer  respecting  one  of 
the  Questions,  that  the  King  paid  the  whole  Expence,  and  that 
no  part  of  it  has  ever  been  plac'd  to  the  Account  of  Congress. 
There  exists  indeed  a  Demand  of  one  Puchelberg,1  a  Person 
in  the  Employ  of  M.  Schweighauser,  of  about  30,000  Livres, 
for  Provisions  and  other  things  furnish'd  to  Capt.  Landais, 
after  he  took  the  Alliance  out  of  the  Hands  of  Capt.  Jones: 
But,  as  the  Ship  was  at  that  time  under  the  King's  Supply 
who,  having  borrow'd  her  for  the  Expedition  when  fitted  for 
Sea  and  just  ready  to  sail  with  Mr.  Adams,  had  ordered  her 
to  be  deliver'd  in  the  same  Condition,  free  of  all  Charges  ac- 
cru'd,  or  accruing,  by  her  being  in  Holland  and  in  L'Orient, 

1  See  supra,  Vol.  VIII,  p.  132.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  MORRIS  135 

and  as  M.  Puchelberg  had  not  only  no  Orders  from  me  to 
furnish  Capt.  Landais,  but  acted  contrary  to  my  Orders 
given  to  M.  Schweighauser,  and  contrary  to  the  Orders  of 
M.  Schweighauser  himself,  I  refused  to  pay  his  Account, 
which  besides  appeared  extravagant,  and  it  has  never  yet 
been  paid. 

I  shall  do  my  best  in  executing  the  third  Instruction,  re- 
specting our  Claim  upon  Denmark.  I  have  written  to  London 
to  obtain,  if  possible,  an  Ace1  of  the  Sums  insured  upon  the 
Ships  delivered  up,  as  such  an  Ace*  may  be  some  Guide  in 
the  Valuation  of  the  Prizes. 

A  Captain  Williams,  formerly  in  the  British  Service,  and 
employed  upon  the  Lakes,  has  given  me  a  Paper  containing 
Information  of  the  State  of  the  back  Country.  As  those 
Informations  may  possibly  be  of  some  use,  I  send  herewith  the 
Paper.  Mr.  Carmichael  has  sent  me  the  Accounts  of  the 
Money  Transactions  at  Madrid.  As  soon  as  Mr.  Jay  re- 
turns, they  will  be  examined. 

Be  pleased  to  present  my  dutiful  Respects  to  Congress,  and 
assure  them  of  my  most  faithful  Services.  With  great  Esteem 
and  Regard,  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.    FRANKLIN.1 


1461.    TO    ROBERT   MORRIS  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Dec.  25,  1783. 

SIR, 

I  have  received  your  Favour  of  the  30th  of  September,  for 
which  I  thank  you.  My  Apprehension,  that  the  Union  be- 

1  The  "  Set  of  Instructions,"  alluded  to  in  this  letter,  may  be  found  in  the 
"  Diplomatic  Correspondence  "  (Sparks),  Vol.  X,  p.  222.  The  resolutions  re- 
specting Hamburg  and  Paul  Jones  are  contained  in  the  "  Secret  Journal  of 
Congress,"  Vol.  Ill,  pp.  416,  430.  —  S. 


136      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

tween  France  and  our  States  might  be  diminished  by  Accounts 
from  hence,  was  occasioned  by  the  extravagant  and  violent 
Language  held  here  by  a  Public  Person,  in  public  Company, 
which  had  that  Tendency ;  and  it  was  natural  for  me  to  think 
his  Letters  might  hold  the  same  Language,  in  which  I  was  right ; 
for  I  have  since  had  Letters  from  Boston  informing  me  of  it. 
Luckily  here,  and  I  hope  there,  it  is  imputed  to  the  true  Cause, 
a  Disorder  in  the  Brain,  which,  tho'  not  constant,  has  its  Fits 
too  frequent.  I  will  not  fill  my  Letter  with  an  Account  of 
those  Discourses.  Mr.  Laurens,  when  you  see  him,  can  give 
it  to  you ;  I  mean  such  as  he  heard  in  Company  with  other 
Persons,  for  I  would  not  have  him  relate  private  Conversa- 
tions. They  distress'd  me  much  at  the  time,  being  then  at 
your  earnest  Instances  soliciting  for  more  aids  of  Money; 
the  Success  of  which  Solicitation  such  ungrateful  and  provok- 
ing Language  might,  I  feared,  have  had  a  Tendency  to  prevent. 
Enough  of  this  at  present. 

I  have  been  exceedingly  hurt  and  afflicted  by  the  Difficulty 
some  of  your  late  Bills  met  with  in  Holland.  As  soon  as  I 
receiv'd  the  Letter  from  Messrs.  Willinck  &  Co.,  which  I 
inclose,  I  sent  for  Mr.  Grand,  who  brought  me  a  Sketch  of  his 
Account  with  you,  by  which  it  appeared  that  the  Demands 
upon  us,  existing  and  expected,  would  more  than  absorb 
the  Funds  in  his  Hands.  We  could  not  indulge  the  smallest 
Hope  of  obtaining  further  Assistance  here,  the  Public  Finances 
being  in  a  state  of  Embarrassment,  private  Persons  full  of 
Distrust  occasioned  by  the  late  Stoppage  of  Payment  at  the 
Caisse  d'Escompte,  and  money  in  general  extreamly  scarce. 
But  he  agreed  to  do  what  I  propos'd,  lend  his  Credit  in  the 
Way  of  Drawing  and  Redrawing  between  Holland  and  Paris, 
to  gain  Time  till  you  could  furnish  Funds  to  reimburse  Messrs. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  MORRIS  137 

Willenck  &  Co.  I  believe  he  made  this  Proposition  to  them 
by  the  Return  of  the  Express.  I  know  not  why  it  was  not 
accepted.  Mr.  Grand,  I  suppose,  will  himself  give  you  an 
Account  of  all  the  Transaction,  and  of  his  Application  to 
Messrs.  Couteulx  &  Co. ;  therefore,  I  need  not  add  more  upon 
this  disagreable  Subject. 

I  have  found  Difficulties  in  settling  the  Account  of  Salaries 
with  the  other  Ministers,  that  have  made  it  impracticable 
for  me  to  do  it.  I  have,  therefore,  after  keeping  the  Bills 
that  were  to  have  been  proportioned  among  us  long  in  my 
hands,  given  them  up  to  Mr.  Grand,  who,  finding  the  same 
Difficulties,  will,  I  suppose,  return  them  to  you.  None  has 
come  to  hand  for  the  two  or  three  last  Quarters,  and  we  are 
indebted  to  his  Kindness  for  advancing  us  Money,  or  we  must 
have  run  in  Debt  for  our  Subsistence.  He  risques  in  doing 
this,  since  he  has  not  for  it  your  Orders. 

There  arise  frequently  contingent  Expences,  for  which  no 
provision  has  yet  been  made.  In  a  former  letter  to  the  Sec- 
retary for  Foreign  Affairs,  I  gave  a  List  of  them,  and  desired 
to  know  the  Pleasure  of  Congress  concerning  them.  I  have 
only  had  for  Answer,  that  they  were  under  Consideration, 
and  that  he  believed  House-Rent  would  not  be  allowed; 
but  I  am  still  in  Uncertainty  as  to  that  and  the  Rest.  I  wish 
some  resolutions  were  taken  on  this  Point  of  Contingencies, 
that  I  may  know  how  to  settle  my  Accounts  with  Mr.  Barclay. 
American  Ministers  in  Europe  are  too  remote  from  their  Con- 
stituents to  consult  them,  and  take  their  Orders  on  every 
Occasion,  as  the  Ministers  here  of  European  Courts  can  easily 
do.  There  seems,  therefore,  a  Necessity  of  allowing  more  to 
their  Discretion,  and  of  giving  them  a  Credit  to  a  certain 
Amount  on  some  Banker,  who  may  answer  their  Orders; 


138       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

for  which,  however,  they  should  be  accountable.  I  mention 
this  for  the  sake  of  other  Ministers,  hoping  and  expecting 
soon  to  be  discharg'd  myself,  and  also  for  the  Good  of  the 
Service. 

The  Remissness  of  our  People  in  Paying  Taxes  is  highly 
blameable;  the  Unwillingness  to  pay  them  is  still  more  so. 
I  see,  in  some  Resolutions  of  Town  Meetings,  a  Remonstrance 
against  giving  Congress  a  Power  to  take,  as  they  call  it,  the 
People's  Money  out  of  their  Pockets,  tho'  only  to  pay  the  In- 
terest and  Principal  of  Debts  duly  contracted.  They  seem 
to  mistake  the  Point.  Money,  justly  due  from  the  People, 
is  their  Creditors'  Money,  and  no  longer  the  Money  of  the 
People,  who,  if  they  withold  it,  should  be  compell'd  to  pay 
by  some  Law. 

All  Property,  indeed,  except  the  Savage's  temporary  Cabin, 
his  Bow,  his  Matchcoat,  and  other  little  Acquisitions,  abso- 
lutely necessary  for  his  Subsistence,  seems  to  me  to  be  the 
Creature  of  public  Convention.  Hence  the  Public  has  the 
Right  of  Regulating  Descents,  and  all  other  Conveyances  of 
Property,  and  even  of  limiting  the  Quantity  and  the  Uses  of 
it.  All  the  Property  that  is  necessary  to  a  Man,  for  the  Con- 
servation of  the  Individual  and  the  Propagation  of  the  Species, 
is  his  natural  Right,  which  none  can  justly  deprive  him  of : 
But  all  Property  superfluous  to  such  purposes  is  the  Property 
of  the  Publick,  who,  by  their  Laws,  have  created  it,  and  who 
may  therefore  by  other  Laws  dispose  of  it,  whenever  the  Wel- 
fare of  the  Publick  shall  demand  such  Disposition.  He  that 
does  not  like  civil  Society  on  these  Terms,  let  him  retire  and 
live  among  Savages.  He  can  have  no  right  to  the  benefits 
of  Society,  who  will  not  pay  his  Club  towards  the  Support 
of  it. 


1783]  TO  ROBERT  MORRIS  139 

The  Marquis  de  la  F.,1  who  loves  to  be  em  ploy 'd  in  our 
Affairs,  and  is  often  very  useful,  has  lately  had  several  Con- 
versations with  the  Ministers  and  Persons  concern'd  in  form- 
ing new  Regulations,  respecting  the  Commerce  between  our 
two  Countries,  which  are  not  yet  concluded.  I  therefore 
thought  it  well  to  communicate  to  him  a  Copy  of  your  Letter, 
which  contains  so  many  sensible  and  just  Observations  on  that 
Subject.  He  will  make  a  proper  Use  of  them,  and  perhaps 
they  may  have  more  Weight,  as  appearing  to  come  from  a 
Frenchman,  than  they  would  have  if  it  were  known  that 
they  were  the  Observations  of  an  American.  I  perfectly 
agree  with  you  in  all  the  Sentiments  you  have  express'd  on 
this  Occasion. 

You  have  made  no  Answer  to  the  Proposition  I  sent  of 
furnishing  Tobacco  to  the  Farmers  General.  They  have 
since  made  a  Contract  with  Mess"  Alexander  &  Williams 
for  the  same  Purpose  but  it  is  such  a  one  as  does  not  prevent 
their  making  another  with  you  if  hereafter  it  should  suit  you. 

I  am  sorry  for  the  Publick's  sake,  that  you  are  about  to 
quit  your  Office,  but  on  personal  Considerations  I  shall  con- 
gratulate you ;  for  I  cannot  conceive  of  a  more  happy  Man, 
than  he,  who  having  been  long  loaded  with  public  Cares, 
finds  himself  reliev'd  from  them,  and  enjoying  private  repose 
in  the  Bosom  of  his  Friends  and  Family. 

The  Government  here  has  set  on  foot  a  new  Loan  of  an 
Hundred  Millions.  I  enclose  the  Plan. 

It  is  thought  very  advantageous  for  the  Lenders.  You  may 
judge  by  that  how  much  the  Money  is  wanted,  and  how  sea- 
sonable the  Peace  was  for  all  concerned. 

If  Mr.  Alexander,  who  is  gone  to  Virginia,  should  happen 

1  Lafayette.  —  ED. 


140       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

to  come  to  Philadelphia,  I  beg  leave  to  recommend  him  to 
your  Civilities  as  an  old  Friend  of  mine  whom  I  very  much 
esteem. 

With  sincere  Regard  &  Attachment,  I  am  ever,  Dear  Sir, 

Your  most  etc. 
[B.F.] 

1462.  TO   EBENEZER  HAZARD1          (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Dec.  26,  1783 

SIR, 

I  am  desired  by  the  General  Post  Office  of  Great  Britain 
to  recommend  to  your  Consideration  a  Sketch  of  an  Adver- 
tisement respecting  the  Packet  Boats,  which  they  think  it 
may  be  useful  to  publish.  You  will  do  in  it  what  you  think 
proper.  Perhaps  you  have  already  done  what  is  necessary. 
As  I  was  formerly  long  connected  with  that  Office  and  have 
Friends  in  it,  if  I  can  be  of  Use  in  forwarding  any  Arrange- 
ments you  have  to  propose  for  the  Benefit  of  yours,  you  may 

command  freely,  Sir, 

Your  most  obedient  Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1463.    TO  THOMAS  MIFFLIN  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Dec.  26,  1783. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  congratulate  you  very  sincerely  on  your  Appointment 
to  that  very  honourable  Station,  the  Presidency  of  Congress. 
Every  Testimony  you  receive  of  the  public  Sense  of  your 
Services  and  Talents,  gives  me  Pleasure. 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Samuel  Hazard,  Esq.,  of  German- 
town,  a  great-grandson  of  Ebenezer  Hazard.  —  ED. 


1783]  TO  THOMAS  MIFFLIN  -141 

I  have  written  to  you  a  long  Letter  on  Business,  in  my 
quality  of  Minister.  This  is  a  private  Letter,  respecting  my 
personal  Concerns,  which  I  presume  to  trouble  you  with  on 
the  Score  of  our  ancient  Friendship. 

In  a  Letter  of  the  i2th  of  March,  1781,  I  stated  my  Age 
and  Infirmities  to  the  Congress,  and  requested  they  would 
be  pleased  to  recall  me,  that  I  might  enjoy  the  little  left  me 
of  the  Evening  of  Life  in  Repose,  and  in  the  sweet  Society 
of  my  Friends  and  Family.  I  was  answered  by  the  then 
President,  that,  when  Peace  should  be  made,  if  I  persisted 
in  the  same  Request,  it  should  be  granted;  I  acquiesc'd; 
the  Preliminaries  were  signed  in  November,  1782,  and  I  then 
repeated  my  Petition.1  A  year  is  past,  and  I  have  no  Answer. 
Undoubtedly,  if  the  Congress  should  think  my  continuing 
here  necessary  for  the  public  Service,  I  ought,  as  a  good 
Citizen,  to  submit  to  their  Judgment  and  Pleasure;  but,  as 
they  may  easily  supply  my  Place  to  advantage,  that  cannot 
be  the  Case.  I  suppose,  therefore,  that  it  is  merely  the  multi- 
plicity of  more  important  Affairs,  that  has  put  my  Request 
out  of  their  Mind.  What  I  would  then  desire  of  you  is,  to 
put  this  Matter  in  Train  to  be  moved  and  answer'd  as  soon  as 
possible,  that  I  may  arrange  my  Affairs  accordingly. 

In  the  first  Letter  above  mentioned,  to  which  I  beg  leave 
to  refer  you,  I  gave  a  Character  of  my  Grandson,  William 
Temple  Franklin,  and  solicited  for  him  the  Favour  and  Pro- 
tection of  Congress.  I  have  nothing  to  abate  of  that  Char- 
acter; on  the  contrary,  I  think  him  so  much  improved  as  to 
be  capable  of  executing,  with  Credit  to  himself  and  Advan- 
tage to  the  Public,  any  Employment  in  Europe  the  Congress 
may  think  fit  to  honour  him  with.  He  has  been  seven  Years 

1  See  letter  to  Robert  R.  Livingston,  dated  December  5th,  1782.  —  ED. 


I42      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1783 

in  the  Service,  and  is  much  esteem'd  by  all  that  know  him, 
particularly  by  the  Minister  here,  who,  since  my  new  Dis- 
order (the  Stone)  makes  my  going  to  Versailles  inconvenient 
to  me,  transacts  our  Business  with  him  in  the  most  obliging 
and  friendly  manner.  It  is  natural  for  me,  who  love  him,  to 
wish  to  see  him  settled  before  I  die,  in  some  Employ  that  may 
probably  be  permanent ;  and  I  hope  you  will  be  so  good  to  me, 
as  to  get  that  Affair  likewise  moved  and  carried  thro'  in  his 
Favour. 

He  has,  I  think,  this  additional  Merit  to  plead,  that  he  has 
serv'd  in  my  Office  as  Secretary  several  Years,  for  the  small 
Salary  of  300  Louis  a  Year,  while  the  Congress  gave  1000  a 
Year  to  the  Secretaries  of  other  Ministers,  who  had  not  half 
the  Employ  for  a  Secretary  that  I  had.  For  it  was  long  before 
a  Consul  was  sent  here,  and  we  had  all  that  Business  on  our 
hands,  with  a  great  deal  of  Admiralty  Business  in  examining 
and  condemning  Captures,  taken  by  our  Cruisers  and  by  the 
French  Cruisers  under  American  Commission;  besides  the 
constant  Attendance  in  examining  and  recording  the  Accept- 
ances of  the  Congress  Bills  of  Exchange,  which  has  been, 
f  rom*the  immense  Number,  very  fatiguing ;  with  many  other 
extra  Affairs,  not  usually  occurring  to  other  Ministers,  such 
as  the  Care  of  the  Prisoners  in  England,  and  the  constant 
Correspondence  relating  to  them;  in  all  of  which  he  serv'd 
me  as  Secretary,  with  the  Assistance  only  of  a  Clerk  at  low 
Wages  (50  Louis  a  Year),  so  that  the  Saving  has  been  very 
considerable  to  the  Public.  I  am,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1783]  TO  MRS.  MARY  HEWSON  143 

1464.    TO  THOMAS  MIFFLIN      (D.  s.  w.) 

Passy,  December  26,  1783. 
SIR, 

If  the  Congress  should  think  it  fit  to  have  a  Consul  for  the 
United  States  in  London,  and  do  not  appoint  one  of  our  own 
countrymen  to  that  office,  I  beg  leave  to  mention  the  Merits 
of  Mr.  William  Hodgson,1  a  Merchant  of  that  City,  who  has 
always  been  a  zealous  friend  of  America,  was  a  principal 
promoter  of  the  Subscription  for  the  relief  of  American 
Prisoners,  and  Chairman  of  the  Committee  for  dispensing 
the  Money  raised  by  that  Subscription.  He  also  took  the 
Trouble  of  applying  the  Moneys  I  furnished  him  with  when 
the  Subscription  was  exhausted,  and  constantly  assisted  me 
in  all  the  negociations  I  had  with  the  British  Ministers,  in 
their  favour,  wherein  he  generally  succeeded,  being  a  man  of 
weight  and  credit,  very  active,  and  much  esteemed  for  his 
probity  and  Integrity.  These  his  Services,  continued  steadily 
during  the  whole  War,  seem  to  entitle  him  to  the  favourable 
notice  of  Congress,  when  any  occasion  offers  of  doing  him 
Service  or  pleasure.  With  great  respect,  I  have  the  honour 

to  *•  &c'  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1465.    TO   MRS.   MARY  HEWSON2       (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Dec.  26,  1783. 

DEAR  POLLY, 

In  reading  Mr.  Viny's  Letter,  when  I  receiv'd  it,  I  miss'd 
seeing  yours,  which  was  written  behind  it  in  a  Corner.     I 

1  See  letter  to  William  Hodgson,  December  10,  1783.  —  ED. 

2  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.  —  ED. 


144       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

thank  you  much  for  your  kind  Offer  respecting  my  Grandson. 
I  was  fully  resolv'd  on  sending  him  in  September  last,  and 
engag'd  Mr.  Jay,  one  of  my  Colleagues,  then  going  to  Eng- 
land, to  take  him  over  in  his  Company.  But,  when  it  came 
to  be  propos'd  to  him,  he  show'd  such  an  Unwillingness  to 
leave  me,  and  Temple  such  a  Fondness  for  retaining  him, 
that  I  concluded  to  keep  him  till  I  should  go  over  myself. 
He  behaves  very  well,  and  we  love  him  very  much. 

I  send  herewith  two  different  French  Grammars,  not 
knowing  which  to  prefer,  Opinions  here  being  divided. 
Your  French  Master  may  take  his  Choice,  and  you  will  pre- 
sent the  other  to  my  Godson,  as  my  New  Year's  Gift,  with 
the  two  Volumes  of  Synonymes  Francises,  an  excellent  Work. 
They  will  be  left  at  Mr.  Hodgson's,  Merchant  in  Coleman 
Street,  where  you  may  have  them  on  sending  for  them. 

Adieu,  my  dear  Friend.  I  long  to  see  you  and  yours,  but 
God  only  knows  when  that  may  happen.  I  am,  neverthe- 
less, yours  most  affectionately,  B  FRANKLIN 

January  ist,  1784.  Health,  and  prosperity,  and  many 
happy  years  to  my  dear  friend  and  her  children,  for  whom 
I  send  the  enclosed  little  books. 


1466.    TO  SAMUEL  COOPER  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Dec.  26,  1783. 

DEAR  SIR:  —  I  have  received  your  Favour  of  the  i6th 
October,  and  am  much  obliged  by  the  Intelligence  it  contains.1 

1  This  letter  is  in  A.  P.  S.    The  intelligence  it  contained  was  "  that  the 
House  of  Representatives  for  this  State  [Massachusetts]  have  this  moment 


1783]  TO  SAMUEL   COOPER  145 

I  am  happy  to  hear  that  your  Government  has  agreed  to 
furnish  Congress  with  the  Means  of  discharging  the  national 
Debt.  The  Obstruction  that  Measure  met  with  in  some  of 
the  States  has  had  many  mischievous  Effects  on  this  side  the 
Water;  it  discouraged  the  Loan  going  on  in  Holland,  and 
thereby  occasioned  a  Protest  of  some  of  Mr.  Morris'  Bills. 
Nothing  can  recover  our  Credit  in  Europe  and  our  Reputa- 
tion in  its  Courts,  but  an  immediate  proof  of  our  Honesty 
and  Prudence  by  a  general  Provision  in  all  the  States  for  the 
punctual  Payment  of  the  Interest  and  the  final  regular  Dis- 
charge of  the  Principal.  I  hope  we  will  never  deserve,  nor 
any  longer  appear  likely  to  deserve,  the  Reproof  given  to  an 
Enthusiastical  Knave  in  Pennsylvania,  who  being  called  upon 
for  an  old  Debt,  said  to  his  Creditors:  Thou  must  have  a 
little  more  patience;  I  am  not  yet  able  to  pay  thee.  Give 
me  then  your  bond,  says  the  Creditor,  and  pay  me  Interest. 
No,  I  cannot  do  that;  I  cannot  in  conscience  either  receive 
or  pay  Interest,  it  is  against  my  Principle.  You  have  then 
the  Conscience  of  a  Rogue,  says  the  Creditor:  You  tell  me 
it  is  against  your  Principle  to  pay  Interest;  and  it  being 
against  your  Interest  to  pay  the  Principal,  I  perceive  you  do 
not  intend  to  pay  me  either  one  or  t'other. 

My  young  Friend,  your  Grandson,  must  have  had  a  long 
Passage,  since  he  was  not  arrived  when  you  wrote.  Indeed 
all  the  Vessels  that  left  Europe  for  America  about  the  time 
he  did  have  had  long  Passages  which  makes  me  less  uneasy 
on  his  account.  I  hope  he  is  in  your  Arms  long  before  this 
time.  His  father  never  made  any  Provision  here  for  his 

passed  an  Act  for  a  Duty  of  5  per  cent  on  all  goods  imported  for  paying  the 
Interest  of  our  National  Debt,  according  to  the  Requisition  of  Congress."  — 
ED. 

VOL.  IX  —  L 


I46       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1783 

Return  that  I  have  heard  of,  and  therefore  I  have  drawn  on 
you  for  the  Ballance  of  the  Account  as  you  directed. 

I  wrote  you  a  too  long  letter  some  time  since,  respecting 
Mr.  A.'s  Calumnies,1  of  which  perhaps  it  was  not  necessary 
to  take  so  much  notice. 

The  Government  of  England  is  again  disordered.  The 
Lords  have  rejected  the  ministry's  favorite  Bill  for  demolish- 
ing the  Power  of  the  India  Company.  The  Commons  have 
resented  it  by  some  angry  Resolutions,  and  it  is  just  now 
reported  here  that  the  Ministers  are  dismissed  and  the  Parlia- 
ment dissolved.  Of  this  we  have  not  yet  certain  advice, 
but  expect  it  hourly. 

There  are  hopes  that  the  War  against  the  Turks  will  blow 
over;  the  rather,  as  all  Flames  are  apt  to  spread,  and  the  late 
belligerent  powers  have  all  need  of  a  continued  Peace ;  This 
however,  is  not  certain,  and  it  behoves  us  to  preserve  with 
Care  our  Friends  and  our  Credit  abroad,  and  our  Union  at 
home,  as  we  know  not  how  soon  we  may  have  occasion  for 
all  of  them. 

With  great  and  sincere  Esteem,  I  am  ever,  my  dear  Friend, 
yours,  etc. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1467.    TO   ELIAS   BOUDINOT2  (P.O.) 

Passy,  Dec.  26,  1783. 

SIR, 

Your  two  Letters  to  the  Commissioners,  dated  at  Prince- 
ton the  27th  of  October  and  ist  of  November,  and  one  to  me 
of  the  first  of  November  came  duly  to  Hand;  Mr.  Adams 

1  Mr.  John  Adams.  —  ED. 

2  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  George  C.  Thomas.  —  ED. 


1783]     M1CHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN  DE  CREVECCEUR     147 

saw  the  public  Letters  in  England,  Capt.  Jones  having  landed 
with  them  at  Plymouth.  We  thank  you  much  for  the  In- 
telligence they  contain.  I  am  now  alone  here,  Mr.  Jay  being 
at  Bath,  with  Mr.  Laurens,  and  Mr.  Adams  either  in  England 
or  Holland :  But  I  have  written  fully  to  the  new  President 
respecting  the  Instructions  etc.  communicated  with  your 
Letters.  And  now,  Sir,  give  me  leave  to  congratulate  you 
on  the  fortunate  Events  that  have  distinguished  your  Presi- 
dency, and  on  your  honourable  Retreat  from  it  into  private 
Life.  The  first  well-improv'd  may  make  us  all  happy,  and 
the  last  must  make  you  so ;  for  I  can  hardly  conceive  a  hap- 
pier Being  than  the  Man,  who,  having  been  long  laden  with 
public  Cares  and  fatigu'd  by  every-body's  Business,  is  al- 
low'd  to  retire  into  the  Bosom  of  his  Family,  and  enjoy 
Otium  cum  dignitate. 

With  great  and  sincere  Respect,  I  have  the  honour  to  be, 
Sir,  your  most  obedient  and  most  humble  Servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1468.     TO   MICHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN   DE 

CREVEOEUR1  (L.  c.) 

SIR  :  —  I  have  perused  the  foregoing  Memoir,  and  having 
formerly  had  some  Share  in  the  Management  of  the  Pacquet 
Boats  between  England  and  America,  I  am  enabled  to  fur- 
nish you  with  some  small  Remarks. 

The  Project  is  good,  and  if  carried  into  Execution  will  cer- 
tainly be  very  useful  to  Merchants  immediately,  and  profit- 

1  This  letter  is  without  date,  but  it  must  have  been  written  either  late  in 
December,  1783,  or  early  in  January,  1784.  —  ED. 


I48        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN-  FRANKLIN    [1783 

able  to  the  Revenue  of  the  Post- Office  at  least  after  some 
time;  because  not  only  Commerce  increases  Correspond- 
ence, but  Facility  of  Correspondence  increases  Commerce, 
and  they  go  on  mutually  augmenting  each  other. 

Four  Packet  Boats  were  at  first  thought  sufficient  between 
Falmouth  and  New  York,  so  as  [to]  dispatch  one  regularly  the 
first  Wednesday  in  every  Month.  But  by  Experience  it  was 
found  that  a  fifth  was  necessary ;  as  without  it,  the  Regularity 
was  sometimes  broken  by  Accidents  of  Wind  and  Weather, 
and  the  Merchants  disappointed  and  their  Affairs  deranged, 
a  Matter  of  great  Consequence  in  Commerce.  A  fifth  Packet 
was  accordingly  added. 

It  is  probable,  as  you  observe,  that  the  English  will  keep 
up  their  Packets.  In  which  Case  I  should  think  it  advise- 
able  to  order  the  Dispatch  of  the  French  Packets  in  the  inter- 
mediate times,  that  is  on  the  third  Wednesdays.  This 
would  give  the  Merchants  of  Europe  and  America  Oppor- 
tunities of  Writing  every  Fortnight.  And  the  English  who 
had  miss'd  Writing  by  their  own  Packet  of  the  first  Wednes- 
day, or  have  new  Matter  to  write  which  they  wish  to  send 
before  the  next  Month,  will  forward  their  Letters  by  the 
Post  to  France  to  go  by  the  French  Packet,  and  vice 
versa,  which  will  encrease  the  Inland  Postage  of  both 
Nations. 

As  these  Vessels  are  not  to  be  laden  with  Goods,  their 
Holds  may,  without  Inconvenience,  be  divided  into  separate 
Apartments  after  the  Chinese  Manner,  and  each  of  those 
Apartments  caulked  tight  so  as  to  keep  out  Water.  In  which 
case  if  a  Leak  should  happen  in  one  Apartment,  that  only 
would  be  affected  by  it,  and  the  others  would  be  free;  so 
that  the  Ship  would  not  be  so  subject  as  others,  to  founder 


1783]  ON  IMMIGRATION  149 

and  sink  at  Sea.1  This  being  known  would  be  a  great  En- 
couragement to  Passengers. 

I  send  you  a  Copy  of  a  Chart  of  the  Gulf  Stream,  which 
is  little  known  by  European  Navigators,  and  yet  of  great 
Consequence ;  since  in  going  to  America  they  often  get  into 
that  Stream  and  unknowingly  stem  it,  whereby  the  Ship  is 
much  retarded  and  the  Voyage  lengthened  enormously. 

The  directions  being  imperfectly  translated  and  expressed 
in  French,  I  have  put  them  more  correctly  in  English.  I 
have  the  honour  to  be,  etc., 


1469.    ON  IMMIGRATION  (L.  c.) 

TO   AN  UNKNOWN  CORRESPONDENT 

Your  Queries  concerning  the  Value  of  Land  hi  different 
Circumstances  &  Situations,  Modes  of  Settlement,  &c.  &c. 
are  quite  out  of  my  Power  to  answer;  having  while  I  lived 
in  America  been  always  an  Inhabitant  of  Capital  Cities,  and 
not  in  the  way  of  learning  any  thing  correctly  of  Country 
Affairs.  There  is  a  Book  lately  published  in  London, 
written  by  Mr.  Hector  St.  John,  its  Title,  Letters  from  an 
American  Farmer,2  which  contains  a  good  deal  of  Informa- 
tion on  those  Subjects;  and  as  I  know  the  Author  to  be  an 
observing  intelligent  Man,  I  suppose  the  Information  to  be 

1  See  "  Maritime  Observations,"  letter  to  David  Le  Roy.  —  ED. 

2  "  Letters  from  an  American  Farmer,  describing  certain  provincial  situa- 
tions, manners  and  customs  not  generally  known ;   .  .  .  written  for  the  infor- 
mation of  a  friend  in  England,  by  J-Hector  Saint  John,  a  farmer  in  Pennsyl- 
vania."    London,  Thomas  Davies,  1 782.  —  ED. 


ISO       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

good  as  far  as  it  goes,  and  I  recommend  the  Book  to  your 
perusal. 

There  is  no  doubt  but  great  Tracts  may  be  purchased  on 
the  Frontiers  of  Virginia,  &  the  Carolinas,  at  moderate  Rates. 
In  Virginia  it  used  to  be  at  5^  Sterling  the  100  Acres.  I  know 
not  the  present  Price,  but  do  not  see  why  it  should  be  higher. 

Emigrants  arriving  pay  no  Fine  or  Premium  for  being  ad- 
mitted to  all  the  Privileges  of  Citizens.  Those  are  acquired 
by  two  Years  Residence. 

No  Rewards  are  given  to  encourage  new  Settlers  to  come 
among  us,  whatever  degree  of  Property  they  may  bring  with 
them,  nor  any  Exemptions  from  common  Duties.  Our  Coun- 
try offers  to  Strangers  nothing  but  a  good  Climate,  fertile 
Soil,  wholesome  Air,  Free  Governments,  wise  Laws,  Liberty, 
a  good  People  to  live  among,  and  a  hearty  Welcome.  Those 
Europeans  who  have  these  or  greater  Advantages  at  home, 
would  do  well  to  stay  where  they  are. 


1470.    TO   JOHN   JAY1  (L.C.) 


DEAR  SIR,  Pass*  Jan'  6> 

I  received  your  kind  letter  of  the  26th  past,2  and  imme- 
diately sent  that  inclosed  to  Mrs.  Jay,  whom  I  saw  a  few  days 
since  with  the  children,  all  perfectly  well.  It  is  a  happy 
thing  that  the  little  ones  are  so  finely  past  the  small-pox, 
and  I  congratulate  you  upon  it  most  cordially. 

It  is  true,  as  you  have  heard,  that  I  have  the  stone,  but  not 
that  I  have  had  thoughts  of  being  cut  for  it.  It  is  as  yet 
very  tolerable.  It  gives  me  no  pain  but  when  in  a  Carriage 

1  Only  an  incomplete  transcript  exists  in  L.  C.  —  ED. 

2  In  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  JOHN  JAY  151 

on  the  Pavement,  or  when  I  make  some  sudden  quick  move- 
ment. If  I  can  prevent  its  growing  larger,  which  I  hope  to  do 
by  abstemious  living  and  gentle  exercise,  I  can  go  on  pretty 
comfortably  with  it  to  the  end  of  my  Journey,  which  can  now 
be  at  no  great  distance.  I  am  chearful,  enjoy  the  company 
of  my  Friends,  sleep  well,  have  sufficient  appetite,  and  my 
Stomach  performs  well  its  Functions.  The  latter  is  very 
material  to  the  preservation  of  Health.  I  therefore  take 
no  Drugs,  lest  I  should  disorder  it.  You  may  judge  that 
my  Disease  is  not  very  grievous,  since  I  am  more  afraid  of 
the  Medicines  than  of  the  Malady. 

It  gives  me  pleasure  to  learn  from  you,  that  my  Friends 
still  retain  their  Regard  for  me.  I  long  to  see  them  again, 
but  I  doubt  I  shall  hardly  accomplish  it.  If  our  Commis- 
sion for  the  Treaty  of  Commerce  were  arrived,  and  we  were 
at  liberty  to  treat  in  England,  I  might  then  come  over  to  you, 
supposing  the  English  Ministry  disposed  to  enter  into  such 
a  Treaty. 

I  have,  as  you  observe,  some  enemies  in  England,  but 
they  are  my  enemies  as  an  American]  I  have  also  two  or 
three  in  America,  who  are  my  Enemies  as  a  Minister;  but 
I  thank  God  there  are  not  in  the  whole  world  any  who  are 
my  Enemies  as  a  Man;  for  by  his  grace,  thro'  a  long  life, 
I  have  been  enabled  so  to  conduct  myself,  that  there  does 
not  exist  a  human  Being  who  can  justly  say,  "  Ben.  Franklin 
has  wrong'd  me."  This,  my  friend,  is  in  old  age  a  comfort- 
able Reflection,  ifou  too  have,  or  may  have,  your  Enemies ; 
but  let  not  that  render  you  unhappy.  If  you  make  a  right 
use  of  them,  they  will  do  you  more  good  than  harm.  They 
point  out  to  us  our  Faults ;  they  put  us  upon  our  guard,  and 
help  us  to  live  more  correctly. 


I52       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

My  Grandsons  are  sensible  of  the  honor  of  your  Re- 
membrance, and  join  their  respectful  Compliments  and 
best  wishes  with  those  of,  dear  Sir,  your  affectionate  humble 

servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1471.    TO  SAMUEL  CHASE1        (A.  P.  s.) 

Passy,  Jan.  6,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  duly  receiv'd  your  Letter  of  the  i8th  of  September,2  with 
the  Papers  that  accompanied  it :  but  being  at  that  time  afflicted 
with  two  painful  Disorders,  the  Gout  and  Gravel,  I  could  not 
then  give  any  Attention  to  Business;  and,  before  my  Re- 
covery, the  Letters  and  Papers  were  both  most  unaccountably 
missing.  I  spent  Hours,  from  time  to  time,  in  searching  for 
them,  and  delay'd  writing  in  continual  Hopes  of  finding  them, 
which  I  was  not  able  to  do  till  within  these  few  Days,  when 
on  removing  a  writing-press  in  my  Closet,  I  discover'd  that 
they  had  fallen  and  lay  conceaPd  behind  it. 

I  had  deliver'd  the  Letter  you  enclos'd  to  the  Marquis  de 
la  Fayette,  and,  as  the  Court  was  then  at  Fontainebleau, 
and  I  could  not  follow  it  by  reason  of  my  Illness,  I  requested 
him  to  sound  M*  le  Marquis  de  Castries  on  the  subject  of  the 
Loss  of  your  Ship.3  He  did  so ;  and  the  Result  of  the  Con- 
versation was,  that,  if  you  thought  fit  to  prosecute  the  Matter, 

1  Samuel  Chase  (1741-1811),  signer  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence, 
was  the  companion  of  Franklin  and  Charles  Carrol  in  their  mission  to  Canada. 
—  ED. 

2  A  long  letter,  written  from  London,  and  now  in  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 

8  The  Matilda,  a  ship  owned  by  Dorsey,  Wheeler  &  Co.,  of  Baltimore,  of 
which  company  Chase  was  a  member.  The  ship  was  captured  by  a  British 
frigate,  The  Perseverance.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  SAMUEL   CHASE  153 

you  should  present  a  Memorial,  upon  which  he  might  regu- 
larly take  the  Affair  into  Consideration.  You  mentioned 
your  coming  to  Paris  before  finishing  your  other  Business, 
in  case  I  should  think  there  was  a  Probability  of  obtaining 
Compensation,  either  from  the  Property  of  the  Captain,  or 
the  Generosity  of  the  Prince.  I  have  not  yet  been  able  to 
learn  any  thing  of  the  Captain's  Circumstances ;  and  as  clear 
Proof  of  his  Delinquency  must  precede  an  Application  to  the 
King,  and  perhaps  the  Protest  of  Captain  Belt  will  hardly 
be  thought  sufficient  Testimony,  and  other  Evidences  corrob- 
orating cannot  be  obtained  but  with  great  Expense  &  Loss 
of  Time,  and  the  Chicanery  practis'd  in  the  Courts  here  to 
procure  Delay  is  immense  and  endless;  on  these  Considera- 
tions I  cannot  advise  your  coming  hither  for  the  Purpose  of 
such  a  Prosecution  to  the  Prejudice  of  your  other  Affairs; 
tho'  I  shall  be  happy  to  see  you,  when  it  may  be  convenient 
to  you,  and,  when  you  are  here,  we  will  take  the  Advice  of 
some  judicious  Persons,  and  if  it  appears  possible  for  me  to 
serve  your  Cause,  I  shall  do  it  with  great  Pleasure. 

M.  de  Rochambeau  was  not  in  Town,  but  I  forwarded 
Mr.  Carrol's  letter  to  him.  I  have  written,  as  you  desired, 
to  Brest,  and  as  soon  as  I  receive  an  Answer,  I  will  com- 
municate it  to  you.  I  am  not  enough  acquainted  with  the 
French  Laws  or  Customs  to  inform  you  what  Claims  the 
Widow  of  M.  le  Vache l  may  have  on  his  Property.  I  only 
think  I  have  heard,  that  Marriages  by  a  Protestant  Minister 
are  not  deemed  valid.  I  will  make  inquiry. 

Since  writing  the  above,  I  am  inform 'd  that,  if  celebrated 

1  M.  Jean  Lcvache  de  Vanburn,  volunteer  in  the  Artillery  of  Maryland,  and 
captain  in  the  army,  married  Ann  Howard  of  Annapolis.  He  was  believed 
to  have  perished  at  sea.  —  ED. 


I54       THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

in  a  Protestant  Country  according  to  the  Laws  of  that  Coun- 
try, they  are  deem'd  valid  here ;  as  are  also  the  Marriages  of 
Protestants  here,  if  in  the  Chapel  of  a  Protestant  Ambassador. 
I  shall  be  glad  to  hear,  that  you  have  succeeded  in  Re- 
covering the  Publick  Money,  and  that  you  continue  to  enjoy 
your  Health,  being,  with  sincere  and  great  Esteem,  dear  Sir, 
&c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1472.    TO   DAVID  HARTLEY1  (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Jan.  7,  1784. 
MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  have  this  moment  recd  your  favour  of  the  25th  past, 
acquainting  me  with  the  change  in  administration.  I  am 
[not]  sure  that  in  reforming  the  constitution,  which  is  some- 
times talked  of,  it  wd  not  be  better  to  make  your  great  officers 
of  state  hereditary,  than  to  suffer  the  inconvenience  of  such 
frequent  and  total  changes.  Much  Faction  and  Cabal  wd 
be  prevented  by  having  a  hereditary  First  Ld  of  the  Treasury, 
a  hereditary  Ld  Chancellor,  Privy  Seal,  President  of  the 
Council,  Secretary  of  State,  First  Ld  of  the  Admiralty,  &c. 
&c.  It  will  not  be  said  that  the  duties  of  these  officers  being 
important,  we  cannot  trust  to  nature  for  the  chance  of  requisite 
talents,  since  we  have  a  hereditary  set  of  judges  in  the  last 
resort,  the  House  of  Peers;  an  hereditary  King;  and  in  a 
certain  German  University  an  hereditary  professor  of  Mathe- 
matics. 

We  have  not  yet  heard  of  the  arrival  of  our  Express  in 
America,  who  carried  the  Definitive  Treaty.  He  sailed  the 

1  From  a  copy  in  Hartley's  handwriting,  in  the  collection  of  Mrs.  L.  Z. 
Leiter.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  155 

26th  of  September.  As  soon  as  the  ratification  arrives,  I 
shall  immediately  send  you  word  of  it.  With  great  esteem 
I  am  ever,  my  dear  friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1473.    TO   JAN  INGENHOUSZ  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Jan.  16,  1784. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  have  this  day  received  your  Favor  of  the  2d  Inst.  Every 
Information  in  my  power,  respecting  the  Balloons,  I  sent  you 
just  before  Christmas,  contained  in  Copies  of  my  letters  to  Sir 
Joseph  Banks.  There  is  no  Secret  in  the  Affair,  and  I  make 
no  doubt  that  a  Person  coming  from  you  would  easily  obtain 
a  sight  of  the  different  Balloons  of  Montgolfier  and  Charles, 
with  all  the  Instructions  wanted;  and,  if  you  undertake  to 
make  one,  I  think  it  extremely  proper  and  necessary  to  send 
an  ingenious  man  here  for  that  purpose :  otherwise,  for  want 
of  attention  to  some  particular  circumstance,  or  of  not  being 
acquainted  with  it,  the  Experiment  might  miscarry,  which, 
in  an  affair  of  so  much  public  Expectation,  would  have  bad 
consequences,  draw  upon  you  a  great  deal  of  Censure,  and 
affect  your  Reputation.  It  is  a  serious  thing  to  draw  out 
from  their  Affairs  all  the  Inhabitants  of  a  great  City  and  its 
Environs,  and  a  Disappointment  makes  them  angry.  At 
Bordeaux  lately  a  person  who  pretended  to  send  up  a  balloon, 
and  had  received  Money  from  many  People,  not  being  able 
to  make  it  rise,  the  populace  were  so  exasperated  that  they 
pulled  down  his  house,  and  had  like  to  have  killed  him. 

It  appears,  as  you  observe,  to  be  a  discovery  of  great  Im- 
portance, and  what  may  possibly  give  a  new  turn  to  human 


IS6       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

Affairs.  Convincing  Sovereigns  of  the  Folly  of  wars  may 
perhaps  be  one  Effect  of  it;  since  it  will  be  impracticable  for 
the  most  potent  of  them  to  guard  his  Dominions.  Five 
thousand  Balloons,  capable  of  raising  two  Men  each,  could  not 
cost  more  than  Five  Ships  of  the  Line;  and  where  is  the 
Prince  who  can  afford  so  to  cover  his  Country  with  Troops 
for  its  Defence,  as  that  Ten  Thousand  Men  descending  from 
the  Clouds  might  not  in  many  places  do  an  infinite  deal  of 
mischief,  before  a  Force  could  be  brought  together  to  repel 
them?  It  is  a  pity  that  any  national  Jealousy  should,  as  you 
imagine  it  may,  have  prevented  the  English  from  prosecuting 
the  Experiment,  since  they  are  such  ingenious  Mechanicians, 
that  in  their  hands  it  might  have  made  a  more  rapid  progress 
towards  Perfection,  and  all  the  Utility  it  is  capable  of  afford- 
ing. 

The  Balloon  of  Messrs.  Charles  and  Robert  was  really 
filled  with  inflamable  air.  The  Quantity  being  great,  it  was 
expensive,  and  tedious  filling,  requiring  two  or  three  days  and 
nights  constant  Labour.  It  had  a  soupape,  [or  valve,]  near 
the  top,  which  they  could  open  by  pulling  a  string  and 
thereby  let  out  some  air  when  they  had  a  mind  to  descend; 
and  they  discharged  some  of  their  Ballast  of  Sand  when  they 
would  rise  again.  A  great  deal  of  Air  must  have  been  let  out 
when  they  landed,  so  that  the  loose  part  might  envelope  one 
of  them :  yet,  the  car  being  lightned  by  that  one  getting  out  of 
it,  there  was  enough  left  to  carry  up  the  other  rapidly.  They 
had  na  Fire  with  them.  That  is  only  used  in  M.  Montgolfier's 
globe,  which  is  open  at  Bottom,  and  straw  constantly  burnt 
to  keep  it  up.  This  kind  is  sooner  and  cheaper  filled ;  but 
must  be  much  bigger  to  carry  up  the  same  weight ;  since  Air 
rarified  by  Heat  is  only  twice  as  light  as  common  Air,  and 


1784]  TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES  157 

inflamable  Air  is  ten  times  lighter.  M.  de  Morveau,  a 
famous  Chemist  at  Dijon,  has  found  an  inflamable  Air  that 
will  cost  only  a  25th  part  of  the  Price  of  what  is  made  by 
oil  of  Vitriol  poured  on  Iron  Filings.  They  say  it  is  made 
from  Sea  Coal.  Its  comparative  Weight  is  not  mentioned. 
Yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1474.    TO   COMTE  DE  VERGENNES      (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Jan.  17,  1784. 

SIR  ;  —  I  received  the  Letter  your  Excellency  did  me  the 
honour  of  writing  to  me  the  i$th  Instant,  inclosing  one 
from  a  certain  Schaffer,  who  calls  himself  Lieutenant- Colonel 
of  the  Continental  Militia,  requesting  that  you  would  cause 
to  be  returned  to  him  a  Bill  of  Exchange  for  60  Dollars  that 
has  my  Name  on  it,  and  which  with  his  other  Papers,  has  been 
seiz'd  and  deposited  in  the  "Greffe  criminel  du  chatelet," 
and  complaining  that  neither  the  consul  nor  myself  afford 
him  any  Protection;  and  you  are  pleased  to  desire  my  Sen- 
timents on  the  Affair. 

This  same  Schaffer  has  been  in  Paris  now  about  three 
Years,  but  this  is  the  first  time  I  have  heard  any  mention  of 
his  military  Character;  he  brought  a  little  Money  with  him, 
as  I  understood,  to  purchase  Goods,  but  he  soon  fell  into  the 
hands  of  a  Set  of  Sharpers,  and  being  a  young  Man  of  very 
little  Understanding,  having  neither  Good  Sense  enough  to 
be  an  honest  Man  nor  Wit  enough  for  a  Rogue,  though  with  a 
strong  Inclination,  they  first  cheated  him  (as  he  complained 


158       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

to  me)  and  then  join'd  with  him  to  cheat  others.  For  this 
purpose  they  got  his  Name  inserted  in  the  Almanack  Royal 
of  1782  and  1783  among  the  Bankers,  and  the  Title  of  John 
Schaffer  &°  Compagnie,  Commissionaires  des  Etats-Unis  de 
I'Amerique,  Rue  des  Fosses,  St.  Marcel,  to  which  Title  they 
had  not  the  smallest  Pretence ;  but  it  served  to  give  them  some 
Credit  with  the  honest  but  ignorant  Shop-keepers  of  Paris,  with 
whose  Complaints  of  our  Commissionaires  not  Paying  I  have 
been  greatly  troubled.  It  is  by  thus  running  hi  Debt,  and  by 
borrowing  where  he  could,  that  he  has  for  some  time  subsisted ; 
and  I  understand  that  for  some  of  these  Escroqueries  he  is  now 
in  Prison.  When  he  was  there  the  first  time,  about  two  Years 
ago,  not  having  then  so  bad  an  Opinion  of  him,  I  interested 
myself  in  his  Favour,  endeavored  to  accommodate  his  Affairs, 
and  lent  him  some  Money  in  his  Distress,  which  he  never 
repaid,  and  yet  on  various  Pretences  of  Sickness  and  Misery 
has  obtained  more  from  me  lately,  but  I  am  now  quite  tired 
of  him  as  is  also  Mr.  Barclay,  and  if  I  have  refused  to  make 
use  of  any  Interest  I  may  be  supposed  to  have  to  screen  him 
from  Punishment,  it  is  because  I  think  it  prostituting  the 
interest  of  a  minister  to  employ  it  in  protection  of  knaves ; 
and  I  am  really  ashamed  to  appear  in  his  favour,  and  afraid 
that  my  doing  it  would  tend  to  lessen  the  weight  of  any  Ap- 
plication I  might  hereafter  have  occasion  to  make  in  behalf 
of  an  honester  Man.  The  Bill  he  mentions  is  I  suppose  one 
of  the  Loan-Office  Interest  Bills  sent  to  him  by  his  Brother 
thro'  the  hands  of  Mr.  Barclay,  which  I  accepted,  and  it  will 
be  paid  when  presented  to  Mr.  Grand.  I  make  no  Objection 
to  its  being  deliver'd  up  to  him,  though  the  Creditors,  perhaps, 
who  prosecute  him  may,  for  whose  Use  probably  his  Effects 
have  been  seized. 


1784]          TO  MRS.   GEORGIAN  A  HARE-BAYLOR  159 

The  Account  he  gives  of  his  Riches,  is  I  believe,  altogether 
as  fictitious  as  his  Character  [of]  Lieut. -Colonel  and  Commis- 
sionaire des  Etats-U[nis]  but  that  his  father  and  Brother-in- 
law  are  resp[ectable]  persons  in  Pennsylvania  is  true.  Mr. 
Barclay  [has]  some  Knowledge  of  them :  for  their  sakes  if 
[the]  Punishment  of  the  carcan,  which  I  [hear  is]  intended 
for  him,  could  be  commuted  for  [a]  less  fletrissant,  a  longer 
Banishment,  or  [such]  like,  I  should  be  glad,  and  if  your 
Excellency  can  obtain  this  for  him  without  too  much  Trouble 
I  shall,  in  their  Behalf,  acknowledge  it  as  a  Favour. 

With  great  Respect,  I  am,  sir,  your  Excellency's  most 

obedient  and  most  humble  Servant. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  —  I  return  the  Letter  endors'd.  I  take  it  to  be 
written  by  one  Beaumont,  his  advocate. 


1475.    TO  MRS-  GEORGIANA  HARE-NAYLOR1 

(L.  C.) 

Passy,  Jan.  25,  1784. 
MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

Your  Letter  of  the  i2th  Inst.  came  duly  to  hand.  I  con- 
gratulate you  &  M*  Hare  on  your  Marriage,  &  wish  you 
every  Felicity. 

I  will  answer  your  Enquiries  as  well  as  I  can.  The  Cul- 
tivators of  Land  are  a  respectable  Part  of  our  People  in 
Pensilvania,  being  generally  Proprietors  of  the  Land  they 
cultivate,  out  of  whom  are  chosen  the  Majority  of  our  Magis- 

1  Georgiana  Shipley,  daughter  of  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph,  married  in  1 783 
Francis  Hare-Naylor  (1753-1815)  of  Hurstmonceaux,  Sussex,  author  of  plays, 
novels,  and  "  History  of  the  Helvetic  Republics."  —  ED. 


160       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

trates,  Legislators,  &c.  And  a  Year's  Residence  gives  a 
Stranger  all  the  Rights  of  a  Citizen.  I  am  not  much  ac- 
quainted with  Country  Affairs,  having  been  always  an  In- 
habitant of  Cities;  but  I  imagine  a  good  Plantation  ready 
form'd,  with  a  Dwelling  House,  &c.  may  be  bought  for  half 
the  Sum  you  mention  to  be  now  in  your  Possession,  and  that 
the  other  half  would  amply  furnish  the  Stock  &c.  necessary 
for  working  the  Land  to  Advantage.  A  Farm  of  two  or  three 
Hundred  Acres,  in  the  hands  of  a  Man  who  understands  Ag- 
riculture and  will  attend  to  it,  is  capable  of  furnishing  Sub- 
sistence to  a  Family.  If  this  may  be  the  Case  with  Mr  Hare, 
you  see  that  your  300^  a  Year l  will  be  an  accumulating  Fund, 
providing  for  the  Establishment  of  Children,  and  for  a  Retire- 
ment of  Ease  &  Comfort  in  Old  Age.  The  Law  is  also  an 
honourable  Profession  with  us,  and  more  profitable  than 
Agriculture ;  and  if  Mr  Hare  is  already  acquainted  with  the 
English  Common  Law,  which  is  the  Basis  of  ours,  he  might 
be  admitted  to  practice  immediately,  and  would  find  but  little 
Difficulty  in  acquiring  a  Knowledge  of  our  few  Additions  to, 
or  Variations  of  that  Law ;  I  have  known  in  my  time  several 
considerable  Estates  made  by  that  Profession.  But  the  Study 
is  dry  and  laborious  and  long,  that  is  requisite  to  arrive  at 
Eminence;  and  if  Mr  Hare  has  not  already  gone  thro'  it, 
he  will  consider  whether  he  has  the  Habits  of  Application, 
Industry  &  Perseverance  that  are  necessary.  Not  knowing 
his  Character  &  Disposition  it  is  impossible  for  me  to  advise 
well,  or  to  judge  whether  sitting  down  quietly  in  some  cheap 
part  of  Europe,  and  living  prudently  on  two-thirds  of  your 
Income,  may  not  be  preferable  to  any  Scheme  in  America. 

1  An  annuity  settled  upon  the  Hare-Naylors  by  the  Duchess  of  Devonshire 
after  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph  had  refused  to  recognize  Hare.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  MRS.  SARAH  BACHE  161 

I  can  only  say,  that  if  I  should  be  there  when  you  are,  my  best 
Counsels  and  Services  will  not  be  wanting,  and  to  see  you 
happily  settled  &  prosperous  there  would  give  me  infinite 
Pleasure;  but  I  have  not  yet  obtained  Leave  to  go  home, 
and  am  besides  in  my  Both  Year;  of  course  if  I  ever  arrive 
there  my  stay  can  be  but  short.  While  I  do  exist,  wherever 
it  is,  you  will  find  me  with  unalterable  Esteem  &  Affection, 

my  dear  Friend, 

Yours  most  sincerely. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1476.    TO   MRS.  SARAH  BACHE         (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Jan.  26,  1784. 

MY  DEAR  CHILD, 

Your  Care  in  sending  me  the  Newspapers  is  very  agre- 
able  to  me.  I  received  by  Capt.  Barney  those  relating  to  the 
Cincinnati.  My  Opinion  of  the  Institution  cannot  be  of  much 
Importance;  I  only  wonder  that,  when  the  united  Wisdom 
of  our  Nation  had,  in  the  Articles  of  Confederation,  mani- 
fested their  Dislike  of  establishing  Ranks  of  Nobility,  by 
Authority  either  of  the  Congress  or  of  any  particular  State,  a 
Number  of  private  Persons  should  think  proper  to  distinguish 
themselves  and  their  Posterity,  from  their  fellow  Citizens, 
and  form  an  Order  of  hereditary  Knights,  in  direct  Opposition 
to  the  solemnly  declared  Sense  of  their  Country !  I  imagine 
it  must  be  likewise  contrary  to  the  Good  Sense  of  most  of 
those  drawn  into  it  by  the  Persuasion  of  its  Projectors,  who 
have  been  too  much  struck  with  the  Ribbands  and  Crosses 
they  have  seen  among  them  hanging  to  the  Buttonholes  of 
Foreign  Officers.  And  I  suppose  those,  who  disapprove  of 

VOL.  IX  —  M 


162        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

it,  have  not  hitherto  given  it  much  Opposition,  from  a  Prin- 
ciple somewhat  like  that  of  your  good  Mother,  relating  to 
punctilious  Persons,  who  are  always  exacting  little  Observ- 
ances of  Respect;  that,  "if  People  can  be  pleased  with  small 
Matters,  it  is  a  pity  but  they  should  have  them." 

In  this  View,  perhaps,  I  should  not  myself,  if  my  Advice 
had  been  ask'd,  have  objected  to  their  wearing  their  Ribband 
and  Badge  according  to  their  Fancy,  tho'  I  certainly  should 
to  the  entailing  it  as  an  Honour  on  their  Posterity.  For 
Honour,  worthily  obtain'd  (as  for  Example  that  of  our 
Officers),  is  in  its  Nature  a  personal  Thing,  and  incommuni- 
cable to  any  but  those  who  had  some  Share  in  obtaining  it. 
Thus  among  the  Chinese,  the  most  ancient,  and  from  long 
Experience  the  wisest  of  Nations,  honour  does  not  descend, 
but  ascends.  If  a  man  from  his  Learning,  his  Wisdom,  or 
his  Valour,  is  promoted  by  the  Emperor  to  the  Rank  of  Man- 
darin, his  Parents  are  immediately  entitled  to  all  the  same 
Ceremonies  of  Respect  from  the  People,  that  are  established 
as  due  to  the  Mandarin  himself ;  on  the  supposition  that  it 
must  have  been  owing  to  the  Education,  Instruction,  and 
good  Example  afforded  him  by  his  Parents,  that  he  was  ren- 
dered capable  of  serving  the  Publick. 

This  ascending  Honour  is  therefore  useful  to  the  State, 
as  it  encourages  Parents  to  give  their  Children  a  good  and 
virtuous  Education.  But  the  descending  Honour,  to  Pos- 
terity who  could  have  no  Share  in  obtaining  it,  is  not  only 
groundless  and  absurd,  but  often  hurtful  to  that  Posterity, 
since  it  is  apt  to  make  them  proud,  disdaining  to  be  employed 
in  useful  Arts,  and  thence  falling  into  Poverty,  and  all  the 
Meannesses,  Servility,  and  Wretchedness  attending  it ;  which 
is  the  present  case  with  much  of  what  is  called  the  Noblesse 


1784]  TO  MRS.  SARAH  BACHE  163 

in  Europe.  Or  if,  to  keep  up  the  Dignity  of  the  Family, 
Estates  are  entailed  entire  on  the  Eldest  male  heir,  another 
Pest  to  Industry  and  Improvement  of  the  Country  is  intro- 
duc'd,  which  will  be  folio  wed  by  all  the  odious  mixture  of  pride 
and  Beggary,  and  idleness,  that  have  half  depopulated  [and 
decultivated]  Spain ;  occasioning  continual  Extinction  of  Fam- 
ilies by  the  Discouragements  of  Marriage  [and  neglect  in  the 
improvement  of  estates].1 

I  wish,  therefore,  that  the  Cincinnati,  if  they  must  go  on 
with  their  Project,  would  direct  the  Badges  of  their  Order  to 
be  worn  by  their  Parents,  instead  of  handing  them  down  to 
their  Children.  It  would  be  a  good  Precedent,  and  might 
have  good  Effects.  It  would  also  be  a  kind  of  Obedience  to 
the  Fourth  Commandment,  in  which  God  enjoins  us  to 
honour  our  Father  and  Mother,  but  has  nowhere  directed  us 
to  honour  our  Children.  And  certainly  no  mode  of  honour- 
ing those  immediate  Authors  of  our  Being  can  be  more  effec- 
tual, than  that  of  doing  praiseworthy  Actions,  which  reflect 
Honour  on  those  who  gave  us  our  Education ;  or  more  becom- 
ing, than  that  of  manifesting,  by  some  public  Expression  or 
Token,  that  it  is  to  their  Instruction  and  Example  we  ascribe 
the  Merit  of  those  Actions. 

But  the  Absurdity  of  descending  Honours  is  not  a  mere 
Matter  of  philosophical  Opinion;  it  is  capable  of  mathe- 
matical Demonstration.  A  Man's  Son,  for  instance,  is  but 
half  of  his  Family,  the  other  half  belonging  to  the  Family  of 
his  Wife.  His  Son,  too,  marrying  into  another  Family,  his 
Share  in  the  Grandson  is  but  a  fourth ;  in  the  Great  Grand- 
son, by  the  same  Process,  it  is  but  an  Eighth;  in  the  next 
Generation  a  Sixteenth ;  the  next  a  Thirty-second ;  the  next 

1  Passages  in  brackets  are  not  found  in  the  draft  in  L.  C.  —  ED. 


164       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

a  Sixty-fourth;  the  next  an  Hundred  and  twenty-eighth; 
the  next  a  Two  hundred  and  Fifty-sixth;  and  the  next  a 
Five  hundred  and  twelfth;  thus  in  nine  Generations,  which 
will  not  require  more  than  300  years  (no  very  great  Antiquity 
for  a  Family),  our  present  Chevalier  of  the  Order  of  Cin- 
cinnatus's  Share  in  the  then  existing  Knight,  will  be  but  a 
5 1 2th  part;  which,  allowing  the  present  certain  Fidelity  of 
American  Wives  to  be  insur'd  down  through  all  those  Nine 
Generations,  is  so  small  a  Consideration,  that  methinks  no 
reasonable  Man  would  hazard  for  the  sake  of  it  the  disagreable 
Consequences  of  the  Jealousy,  Envy,  and  111  will  of  his 
Countrymen. 

Let  us  go  back  with  our  Calculation  from  this  young  Noble, 
the  5 1 2th  part  of  the  present  Knight,  thro'  his  nine  Genera- 
tions, till  we  return  to  the  year  of  the  Institution.  He  must 
have  had  a  Father  and  Mother,  they  are  two.  Each  of  them 
had  a  father  and  Mother,  they  are  four.  Those  of  the  next 
preceding  Generation  will  be  eight,  the  next  Sixteen,  the  next 
thirty-two,  the  next  sixty-four,  the  next  one  hundred  and 
Twenty-eight,  the  next  Two  hundred  and  fifty-six,  and  the 
ninth  in  this  Retrocession  Five  hundred  and  twelve,  who  must 
be  now  existing,  and  all  contribute  their  Proportion  of  this 
future  Chevalier  de  Cincinnatus.  These,  with  the  rest,  make 
together  as  follows: 

2 

4 

8 

16 

3* 

64 
128 
256 

JI2 

Total  1 02  2 


1784]  TO  MRS.   SARAH  BACHE  165 

One  Thousand  and  Twenty-two  Men  and  Women,  contrib- 
utors to  the  formation  of  one  Knight.  And,  if  we  are  to 
have  a  Thousand  of  these  future  knights,  there  must  be  now 
and  hereafter  existing  One  million  and  Twenty-two  Thou- 
sand Fathers  and  Mothers,  who  are  to  contribute  to  their 
Production,  unless  a  Part  of  the  Number  are  employ 'd  in 
making  more  Knights  than  One.  Let  us  strike  off  then  the 
22,000,  on  the  Supposition  of  this  double  Employ,  and  then 
consider  whether,  after  a  reasonable  Estimation  of  the  Num- 
ber of  Rogues,  and  Fools,  and  Royalists  and  Scoundrels  and 
Prostitutes,  that  are  mix'd  with,  and  help  to  make  up  neces- 
sarily their  Million  of  Predecessors,  Posterity  will  have  much 
reason  to  boast  of  the  noble  Blood  of  the  then  existing  Set 
of  Chevaliers  de  Cincinnatus.  [The  future  genealogists,  too, 
of  these  Chevaliers,  in  proving  the  lineal  descent  of  their 
honour  through  so  many  generations  (even  supposing  honour 
capable  in  its  nature  of  descending),  will  only  prove  the  small 
share  of  this  honour,  which  can  be  justly  claimed  by  any  one 
of  them ;  since  the  above  simple  process  in  arithmetic  makes 
it  quite  plain  and  clear  that,  in  proportion  as  the  antiquity 
of  the  family  shall  augment,  the  right  to  the  honour  of  the  an- 
cestor will  diminish ;  and  a  few  generations  more  would  re- 
duce it  to  something  so  small  as  to  be  very  near  an  absolute 
nullity.]  I  hope,  therefore,  that  the  Order  will  drop  this  part 
of  their  project,  and  content  themselves,  as  the  Knights  of 
the  Garter,  Bath,  Thistle,  St.  Louis,  and  other  Orders  of 
Europe  do,  with  a  Life  Enjoyment  of  their  little  Badge  and 
Ribband,  and  let  the  Distinction  die  with  those  who  have 
merited  it.  This  I  imagine  will  give  no  offence.  For  my 
own  part,  I  shall  think  it  a  Convenience,  when  I  go  into  a 
Company  where  there  may  be  Faces  unknown  to  me,  if  I 


166       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

discover,  by  this  Badge,  the  Persons  who  merit  some  particu- 
lar Expression  of  my  Respect ;  and  it  will  save  modest  Virtue 
the  Trouble  of  calling  for  our  Regard,  by  awkward  round- 
about Intimations  of  having  been  heretofore  employed  in 
the  Continental  Service. 

The  Gentleman,  who  made  the  Voyage  to  France  to  pro- 
vide the  Ribands  and  Medals,  has  executed  his  Commission. 
To  me  they  seem  tolerably  done;  but  all  such  Things  are 
criticis'd.  Some  find  Fault  with  the  Latin,  as  wanting  classic 
Elegance  and  Correctness ;  and,  since  our  Nine  Universities 
were  not  able  to  furnish  better  Latin,  it  was  pity,  they  say, 
that  the  Mottos  had  not  been  in  English.  Others  object  to 
the  Title,  as  not  properly  assumable  by  any  but  Gen.  Wash- 
ington, [and  a  few  others]  who  serv'd  without  Pay.  Others 
object  to  the  Bald  Eagle  as  looking  too  much  like  a  Dindon, 
or  Turkey.  For  my  own  part,  I  wish  the  Bald  Eagle  had  not 
been  chosen  as  the  Representative  of  our  Country;  he  is  a 
Bird  of  bad  moral  Character;  he  does  not  get  his  living 
honestly;  you  may  have  seen  him  perch'd  on  some  dead 
Tree,  near  the  River  where,  too  lazy  to  fish  for  himself,  he 
watches  the  Labour  of  the  Fishing-Hawk;  and,  when  that 
diligent  Bird  has  at  length  taken  a  Fish,  and  is  bearing  it  to 
his  Nest  for  the  support  of  his  Mate  and  young  ones,  the 
Bald  Eagle  pursues  him,  and  takes  it  from  him.  With  all 
this  Injustice  he  is  never  in  good  Case ;  but,  like  those  among 
Men  who  live  by  Sharping  and  Robbing,  he  is  generally  poor, 
and  often  very  lousy.  Besides,  he  is  a  rank  Coward;  the 
little  KingBird,  not  bigger  than  a  Sparrow,  attacks  him  boldly 
and  drives  him  out  of  the  District.  He  is  therefore  by  no 
means  a  proper  emblem  for  the  brave  and  honest  Cincinnati 
of  America,  who  have  driven  all  the  Kingbirds  from  our 


1784]  TO  MRS.  SARAH  BACHE  167 

Country ;  though  exactly  fit  for  that  Order  of  Knights,  which 
the  French  call  Chevaliers  d 'Industrie. 

I  am,  on  this  account,  not  displeas'd  that  the  Figure  is  not 
known  as  a  Bald  Eagle,  but  looks  more  like  a  Turk'y.  For 
in  Truth,  the  Turk'y  is  in  comparison  a  much  more  respect- 
able Bird,  and  withal  a  true  original  Native  of  America. 
Eagles  have  been  found  in  all  Countries,  but  the  Turk'y  was 
peculiar  to  ours ;  the  first  of  the  Species  seen  in  Europe  being 
brought  to  France  by  the  Jesuits  from  Canada,  and  serv'd 
up  at  the  Wedding  Table  of  Charles  the  Ninth.1  He  is, 
[though  a  little  vain  and  silly,  it  is  true,  but  not  the  worse 
emblem  for  that,]  a  Bird  of  Courage,  and  would  not  hesitate 
to  attack  a  Grenadier  of  the  British  Guards,  who  should  pre- 
sume to  invade  his  Farm  Yard  with  a  red  Coat  on. 

I  shall  not  enter  into  the  Criticisms  made  upon  their  Latin. 
The  gallant  officers  of  America  may  [not  have  the  merit  of 
being]  be  no  great  scholars,  but  they  undoubtedly  merit 
much,  [as  brave  soldiers,]  from  their  Country,  which  should 
therefore  not  leave  them  merely  to  Fame  for  their  "  Virtutis 
Premium"  which  is  one  of  their  Latin  Mottos.  Their  "  Esto 
perpetua"  another,  is  an  excellent  Wish,  if  they  meant  it  for 
their  Country;  bad,  if  intended  for  their  Order.  The 
States  should  not  only  restore  to  them  the  Omnia  of  their 
first  Motto,2  which  many  of  them  have  left  and  lost,  but  pay 
them  justly,  and  reward  them  generously.  They  should  not 

1  A  learned  friend  of  the  Editor's  has  observed  to  him,  that  this  is  a  mis- 
take, as  Turkeys  were  found  in  great  plenty  by  Cortes,  when  he  invaded  and 
conquered  Mexico,  before  the  time  of  Charles  the  Twelfth.  That  this,  and 
their  being  brought  to  old  Spain,  is  mentioned  by  Peter  Martyr  of  Anghiera, 
who  was  Secretary  of  the  Council  to  the  Indies,  established  immediately  after 
the  discovery  of  America,  and  personally  acquainted  with  Columbus.  —  W.  T.  F. 

8  "  Omnia  reliquit  servare  rempublicam."  —  ED. 


168       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

be  suffered  to  remain,  with  [all]  their  new-created  Chivalry, 
entirely  in  the  Situation  of  the  Gentleman  in  the  Story,  which 
their  omnia  reliquit  reminds  me  of.  You  know  every  thing 
makes  me  recollect  some  Story.  He  had  built  a  very  fine 
House,  and  thereby  much  impair'd  his  Fortune.  He  had  a 
Pride,  however,  in  showing  it  to  his  Acquaintance.  One  of 
them,  after  viewing  it  all,  remark'd  a  Motto  over  the  Door, 
"OIA  VANITAS."  "What,"  says  he,  "is  the  Meaning  of 
this  OIA  ?  it  is  a  word  I  don't  understand."  "  I  will  tell  you," 
said  the  Gentleman;  "I  had  a  mind  to  have  the  Motto  cut 
on  a  Piece  of  smooth  Marble,  but  there  was  not  room  for  it 
between  the  Ornaments,  to  be  put  in  Characters  large  enough 
to  be  read.  I  therefore  made  use  of  a  Contraction  antiently 
very  common  in  Latin  Manuscripts,  by  which  the  w's  and  w's 
in  Words  are  omitted,  and  the  Omission  noted  by  a  little 
Dash  above,  which  you  may  see  there ;  so  that  the  Word  is 
omnia,  OMNIA  VANITAS."  "O,"  says  his  Friend,  "I  now 
comprehend  the  Meaning  of  your  motto,  it  relates  to  your 
Edifice ;  and  signifies,  that,  if  you  have  abridged  your  Omnia, 
you  have,  nevertheless,  left  your  VANITAS  legible  at  full 
length."  I  am,  as  ever,  your  affectionate  father, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1477-    TO   CHARLES   W.  F.  DUMAS 1     (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Feb.  I,  1784. 
DEAR  SIR, 

I  receiv'd  duly  yours  of  the  23rd  past,  as  well  as  those 
therein  mentioned,  with  the  Enclosed  for  the  Office  of  Foreign 

1  From  the  original  in  the  autograph  collection  of  Mr.  Simon  Gratz.  — ED. 


1784]  TO  HENRY  LAURENS  169 

Affairs,  all  of  which  except  the  last  are  forwarded,  and  that 
will  go  next  Wednesday.     I  thank  you  for  the  Opportunity 
given  me  of  seeing  the  Intelligence  they  contain.     I  sent  you 
5  or  6  Weeks  since,  a  Packet  containing  some  fresh  American 
Newspapers.     You  do  not  mention  receiving  them.    They 
went  by  a  Person  whose  Name  I  have  forgot.     He  had  for- 
merly been  in  the  House  of  Messrs  de  Neufville.     I  wrote 
at  the  same  time  a  few  Lines.     I  am  ever,  Dear  Sir, 
Your  faithful  humble 
Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.    I  condole  with  you  on  the  Loss  of  the  Ship  men- 
tion'd  in  the  enclos'd  Newspaper. 


1478.    TO   HENRY   LAURENS  l         (L.  c.) 

Passy,  February  12,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  your  favour  of  the  3d  instant  by  your  son,  with  the 
newspapers,  for  which  I  thank  you.  The  disorders  of  that 
government,  whose  constitution  has  been  so  much  praised, 
are  come  to  a  height  that  threatens  some  violent  convulsion, 
if  not  a  dissolution ;  and  its  Physicians  do  not  even  seem  to 
guess  at  the  cause  of  the  disease,  and  therefore  prescribe  in- 
sufficient remedies,  such  as  place  bills,  more  equal  representa- 
tion, more  frequent  elections,  &c.  &c.  In  my  humble  opinion, 
the  malady  consists  in  the  enormous  salaries,  emoluments,  and 
patronage  of  great  offices.  Ambition  and  avarice  are  sep- 
arately strong  passions.  When  they  are  united  in  pursuit 

1  From  a  transcript  in  L.  C.  —  ED. 


170        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

of  the  same  object,  they  are  too  strong  to  be  governed  by  com- 
mon prudence,  or  influenced  by  public  spirit  and  love  of  coun- 
try ;  they  drive  men  irresistibly  into  factions,  cabals,  dissen- 
sions, and  violent  divisions,  always  mischievous  to  public 
councils,  destructive  to  the  peace  of  society,  and  sometimes 
fatal  to  its  existence.  As  long  as  the  immense  profits  of  these 
offices  subsist,  members  of  the  shortest  and  most  equally 
chosen  parliaments  will  have  them  in  view,  and  contend  for 
them,  and  their  contentions  will  have  all  the  same  ruinous 
consequences. 

To  me,  then,  there  seems  to  be  but  one  effectual  remedy, 
and  that  not  likely  to  be  adopted  by  so  corrupt  a  nation; 
which  is,  to  abolish  these  profits,  and  make  every  place,of 
honour  a  place  of  burthen.  By  that  means  the  effect  of  one  of 
the  passions  above-mentioned  would  be  taken  away,  and  some- 
thing would  be  added  to  counteract  the  other.  Thus  the 
number  of  competitors  for  great  offices  would  be  dimin- 
ished, and  the  efforts  of  those  who  still  would  obtain  them 
moderated. 

Thank  God  we  have  now  less  connection  with  the  affairs 
of  these  people  and  are  more  at  liberty  to  take  care  of  our  own, 
which  I  hope  we  shall  manage  better. 

We  have  a  terrible  winter  here ;  such  another  in  this  coun- 
try is  not  remembered  by  any  man  living.  The  snow  has  been 
thick  upon  the  ground  ever  since  Christmas;  and  the  frost 
constant.  My  Grandson  joins  in  best  compliments  to  your- 
self and  Miss  Laurens.  With  sincere  esteem  and  affection, 
I  have  the  honour  to  be,  dear  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1784]  TO    WILLIAM  STRAHAN  171 

1479.    TO   WILLIAM   STRAHAN         (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Feb.  16,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  receiv'd  and  read  with  Pleasure  your  kind  Letter  of  the 
first  Inst,1  as  it  inform'd  me  of  the  Welfare  of  you  and  yours. 
I  am  glad  the  Accounts  you  have  from  your  Kinswoman  at 
Philadelphia  2  are  agreable,  and  I  shall  be  happy  if  any  Rec- 
ommendations from  me  can  be  serviceable  to  Dr.  Ross,8  or 
any  other  friend  of  yours,  going  to  America. 

Your  arguments,  persuading  me  to  come  once  more  to 
England,  are  very  powerful.  To  be  sure,  I  long  to  see  again 
my  Friends  there,  whom  I  love  abundantly;  but  there  are 
difficulties  and  Objections  of  several  kinds,  which  at  present 
I  do  not  see  how  to  get  over. 

I  lament  with  you  the  political  Disorders  England  at  pres- 
ent labours  under.  Your  Papers  are  full  of  strange  Accounts 
of  Anarchy  and  Confusion  in  America,  of  which  we  know 
nothing,  while  your  own  Affairs  are  really  in  a  Situation  de- 
plorable. In  my  humble  Opinion,  the  Root  of  the  Evil  lies 
not  so  much  in  too  long,  or  too  unequally  chosen  Parliaments, 
as  in  the  enormous  Salaries,  Emoluments,  and  Patronage 
of  your  great  Offices ;  and  that  you  will  never  be  at  rest  till 
they  are  all  abolish'd,  and  every  place  of  Honour  made  at  the 

1  A.  P.  s.  — ED. 

*  Strahan  had  acknowledged  warmly  "  the  very  friendly  and  effectual  patron- 
age "  Franklin's  family  in  America  had  afforded  his  "  poor,  helpless  and  sin- 
gularly distressed  kinswoman,  than  whom  none  can  be  more  grateful,  or  more 
deserving  the  great  kindness  you  have  shewn  her."  —  ED. 

»  Dr.  Ross  had  spent  some  time  in  the  East  as  physician  to  the  army;  his 
health  failing,  he  returned  to  follow  his  profession  in  North  America.  —  ED. 


172       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

same  time,  instead  of  a  Place  of  Profit,  a  place  of  Expence  and 

burthen. 

Ambition  and  avarice  are  each  of  them  strong  Passions, 
and  when  they  are  united  in  the  same  Persons,  and  have  the 
same  Objects  in  view  for  their  Gratification,  they  are  too 
strong  for  Public  Spirit  and  Love  of  Country,  and  are  apt  to 
produce  the  most  violent  Factions  and  Contentions.  They 
should  therefore  be  separated,  and  made  to  act  one  against 
the  other.  Those  Places,  to  speak  in  our  old  stile  (Brother 
Type),  may  be  for  the  good  of  the  Chapel,  but  they  are  bad 
for  the  Master,  as  they  create  constant  Quarrels  that  hinder 
the  Business.  For  example,  here  are  near  two  Months  that 
your  Government  has  been  employed  in  getting  its  form  to 
press;  which  is  not  yet  fit  to  work  on,  every  Page  of  it  being 
squabbled,  and  the  whole  ready  to  fall  into  pye.  The  Founts 
too  must  be  very  scanty,  or  strangely  out  of  sorts,  since  your 
Compositors  cannot  find  either  upper  or  lower  case  Letters 
sufficient  to  set  the  word  ADMINISTRATION,  but  are  f  orc'd  to  be 
continually  turning  for  them.  However,  to  return  to  com- 
mon (tho'  perhaps  too  saucy)  Language,  don't  despair;  you 
have  still  one  resource  left,  and  that  not  a  bad  one,  since  it 
may  reunite  the  Empire.  We  have  some  Remains  of  Affec- 
tion for  you,  and  shall  always  be  ready  to  receive  and  take 
care  of  you  in  Case  of  Distress.  So  if  you  have  not  Sense 
and  Virtue  enough  to  govern  yourselves,  e'en  dissolve 
your  present  old  crazy  Constitution,  and  send  members  to 
Congress. 

You  will  say  my  Advice  "smells  of  Madeira"  You  are 
right.  This  foolish  Letter  is  mere  chitchat  between  our- 
selves over  the  second  bottle.  If,  therefore,  you  show  it  to 
anybody,  (except  our  indulgent  Friends,  Dagge  and  Lady 


1784]  TO  COMTE  DE   VERGENNES  "173 

Strahan)   I  will  positively  Solless  you.    Yours  ever  most 
affectionately,  B.  F[RANKLIN.] 


1480.    TO    JEAN   BAPTISTE   LE   ROY    (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Feb.  25,  1784 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

Enclosed  I  send  you  a  Letter  *  and  sundry  Papers  I  lately 
recd  from  Mr  Eckhardt  of  Utrecht,  a  most  ingenious  Mech- 
anician whom  I  first  knew  in  London.  You  will  see  what  he 
desires  and  what  Answer  I  have  made  him.  If  you  can  do 
him  any  Service,  I  need  not  pray  you  to  do  it,  because  you 
have  a  Pleasure  in  assisting  Genius.  Show  if  you  please 
what  he  says  of  the  Baloons,  to  Mr  Montgolfier.  I  long  to 

see  you,  being  ever 

Yours  most  affectionately 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1481.     TO   COMTE   DE  VERGENNES    (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Feb.  26,  1784. 

SIR  :  —  Mr.  Williams,  desiring  no  farther  Surseance  against 
the  Bulk  of  his  Creditors,  with  whom  he  has  amicably  arranged 
his  Affairs,  and  to  whom  he  proposes  to  do  exact  Justice,  I 
the  more  willingly  join  my  Request  with  his,  that  he  may  be 
secured  against  the  small  Number  remaining,  who  aim  at 
forcing  him  to  favour  them  to  the  Prejudice  of  the  others.  I 

am,  with  great  Respect,  Sir,  etc., 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  The  postscript  to  this  letter  from  Eckhardt,  January  18,  1784,  is  in  A.  P. 
S.  — ED. 


174       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 
1482.    TO  JOHN  PAUL  JONES  * 

Passy,  March  4,  1784. 

SIR  :  —  I  return  herewith  the  paper  you  communicated  to 
me  yesterday.  I  perceive  by  the  extract  from  M.  de  Sartine's 
letter  that  it  was  his  intention  that  all  the  charges  which  had 
accrued  upon  the  Serapis  and  Countess  of  Scarborough 
should  be  deducted  from  the  prize-money  payable  to  the 
captors,  particularly  the  expense  of  victualling  the  seamen 
and  prisoners,  and  that  the  liquidation  of  those  charges 
should  be  referred  to  me.  This  liquidation,  however,  never 
was  referred  to  me,  and,  if  it  had  been,  I  should  have  been 
cautious  of  acting  in  it,  having  received  no  power  from  the 
captors,  either  French  or  Americans,  authorizing  me  to  de- 
cide upon  anything  respecting  their  interests.  And  I  cer- 
tainly should  not  have  agreed  to  charge  the  American  captors 
with  any  part  of  the  expense  of  maintaining  the  600  pris- 
oners in  Holland  till  they  should  be  exchanged  for  Americans 
in  England,  as  was  your  intention,  and  as  we  both  had  been 
made  to  expect.  With  great  esteem  I  have  the  honour  to 
be,  etc.,  B.  FRANKLIN. 

1483.    TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN2 

DEAR  SIR,  Pass*  March  $> ^ 

You  mention,  that  I  may  now  see  verified  all  you  said  about 
binding  down  England  to  so  hard  a  peace.  I  suppose  you  do 

1  Printed  from  "The  Complete  Works  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (Bigelow), 
Vol.  VIII,  p.  452. -ED. 

2  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  457.  — ED. 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  '175 

not  mean  by  the  American  treaty;  for  we  were  exceeding 
favourable,  in  not  insisting  on  the  reparations  so  justly  due 
for  the  wanton  burnings  of  our  fine  towns,  and  devastations 
of  our  plantations  in  a  war,  now  universally  allowed  to  have 
been  originally  unjust.  I  may  add,  that  you  will  also  see 
verified  all  I  said  about  the  article  respecting  the  royalists, 
that  it  will  occasion  more  mischief  than  it  was  intended  to 
remedy,  and  that  it  would  have  been  better  to  have  omitted 
all  mention  of  them.  England  might  have  rewarded  them 
according  to  their  merits  at  no  very  great  expense.  After 
the  harms  they  had  done  to  us,  it  was  imprudent  to  insist  on 
our  doing  them  good. 

I  am  sorry  for  the  overturn  you  mention  of  those  benefi- 
cial systems  of  commerce,  that  would  have  been  exemplary 
to  mankind.  The  making  England  entirely  a  free  port 
would  have  been  the  wisest  step  ever  taken  for  its  advan- 
tage. 

I  wish  much  to  see  what  you  say  a  respectable  friend  of  mine 
has  undertaken  to  write  respecting  the  peace.  It  is  a  pity  it 
has  been  delayed.  If  it  had  appeared  earlier,  it  might  have 
prevented  much  mischief,  by  securing  our  friends  in  their 
situations ;  for  we  know  not  who  will  succeed  them,  nor  what 
credit  they  will  hold. 

By  my  doubts  of  the  propriety  of  my  going  soon  to  London, 
I  meant  no  reflection  on  my  friends  or  yours.  If  I  had  any 
call  there  besides  the  pleasure  of  seeing  those  whom  I  love, 
I  should  have  no  doubts.  If  I  live  to  arrive  there,  I  shall 
certainly  embrace  your  kind  invitation,  and  take  up  my  abode 
with  you.  Make  my  compliments  and  respects  acceptable 
to  Mrs.  Vaughan.  I  know  not  what  foundation  there  can  be 
for  saying  that  I  abuse  England  as  much  as  before  the  peace. 


176       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

I  am  not  apt,  I  think,  to  be  abusive ;  of  the  two,  I  had  rather 
be  abused. 

Enclosed  are  the  letters  you  desire.  I  wish  to  hear  from 
you  more  frequently,  and  to  have,  through  you,  such  new 
pamphlets,  as  you  may  think  worth  my  reading.  I  am  ever, 

my  dear  friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN 


1484.    TO  COMTE  DE  VERGENNES     (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  March  5,  1784. 

SIR,  I  received  the  letter  which  your  Excellency  did  me 
the  honour  of  writing  to  me,1  respecting  the  necessity  of  pro- 
ducing legal  proof  of  the  arrangement  made  with  the  creditors 
mentioned  in  Mr.  Williams'  state  of  his  affairs.  I  am  much 
obliged  by  the  attention  you  are  so  good  as  to  afford  this 
business  on  my  recommendation,  and  I  send  herewith  the 
original  of  those  arrangements,  for  your  inspection.  With 

great  respect,  I  am,  sir,  etc., 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  —  These  papers  being  Mr.  Williams'  only  discharge, 
he  requests  they  may  be  returned  to  him  after  examination. 


1485.    TO  CHARLES  THOMSON2 
gIR  Passy,  March  9,  1784. 

I  received  a  few  days  since  a  letter  from  Annapolis,  dated 
June  the  5th,  in  your  handwriting,  but  not  signed,  acquaint- 

1  A  letter  dated  March  4,  1784,  and  written  in  reply  to  Franklin's  letter  of 
February  26,  1784.  —  ED. 

2  From  "  Diplomatic  Correspondence  of  the  United  States"  (Sparks),  Vol. 
I»P-377-  —  ED. 


1784]  TO   CHARLES  THOMSON  177 

ing  the  Commissioners  with  the  causes  of  delay  in  sending  the 
ratification  of  the  definitive  treaty.  The  term  was  expired 
before  that  letter  came  to  hand ;  but  I  hope  no  difficulty  will 
arise  from  a  failure  in  a  point  not  essential,  and  which  was 
occasioned  by  accidents.  I  have  just  received  from  Mr. 
Hartley  a  letter  on  the  subject,  of  which  I  enclose  a  copy. 

We  have  had  a  terrible  winter,  too,  here,  such  as  the  oldest 
men  do  not  remember,  and  indeed  it  has  been  very  severe  all 
over  Europe. 

I  have  exchanged  ratifications  with  the  ambassador  of 
Sweden,  and  enclose  a  copy  of  that  I  received  from  him. 

Mr.  Jay  is  lately  returned  from  England.  Mr.  Laurens 
is  still  there,  but  proposes  departing  for  America  next  month, 
as  does  also  Mr.  Jay,  with  his  family.  Mr.  Adams  is  in 
Holland,  where  he  has  been  detained  by  business  and  bad 
weather.  These  absences  have  occasioned  some  delays  in 
our  business,  but  not  of  much  importance. 

The  war  long  expected  between  the  Turks  and  Russians 
is  prevented  by  a  treaty,  and  it  is  thought  an  accommodation 
will  likewise  take  place  between  them  and  the  Emperor. 
Everything  here  continues  friendly  and  favourable  to  the 
United  States.  I  am  pestered  continually  with  numbers  of 
letters  from  people  in  different  parts  of  Europe,  who  would 
go  to  settle  in  America,  but  who  manifest  very  extravagant 
expectations,  such  as  I  can  by  no  means  encourage,  and  who 
appear  otherwise  to  be  very  improper  persons.  To  save 
myself  trouble,  I  have  just  printed  some  copies  of  the  en- 
closed little  piece,  which  I  purpose  to  send  hereafter  in  answer 
to  such  letters.  Be  pleased  to  present  my  dutiful  respects  to 
Congress,  and  believe  me  to  be,  with  sincere  esteem,  dear 
Sir,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 

VOL.  IX  —  N 


I78       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

1486.    TO  HENRY  LAURENS  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  March  12th,  1784 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  I  received  your  kind  letter  by  Mr.  Chollet 
with  the  Pamphlets  and  newspapers,  and  since,  a  paper  of 
the  5th,  which  came  under  cover  to  Mr.  Grand.  I  am  much 
obliged  to  you  for  these  Communications. 

Your  sentiments  and  mine  respecting  the  continual  Drafts 
on  Europe  coincide  perfectly.  I  have  just  received  a  letter 
from  Mr.  Carmichael  dated  the  i4th  past,  in  which  he  says; 
"  Bills  from  Congress  come  to  hand  from  time  to  time,  some 
of  which  Mr.  M.  has  advised  me  of ;  the  others  I  am  at  a  loss 
what  to  do  with ;  but  having  no  Instructions  to  the  contrary 
I  cannot  refuse  accepting  them.  I  should  be  glad  to  know 
your  sentiments  thereon."  All  I  can  say  to  him  in  answer  is, 
that  it  will  behove  him  to  consider  where  he  can  find  Funds 
for  Payment,  since  there  is  not  the  smallest  Probability  that  I 
shall  be  able  to  assist  him  from  hence.  Sure  it  must  be  some 
unavoidable  necessity  that  induces  so  prudent  a  Man  as 
Mr.  Morris  to  take  such  Measures :  and  the  several  States 
must  be  much  to  blame  to  leave  him  under  that  necessity. 

I  heartily  wish  you  success  in  your  Endeavors  to  recover 
your  £2,800  from  the  Treasury.  I  know  too  well  the  Dex- 
terity of  that  Board  (Dexterity  is  acquired  by  much  Practice) 
in  fighting  off  Payments,  not  to  think  you  very  lucky  if  you 
can  obtain  your  Right  by  only  mounting  twice  more  their  70 
steps. 

The  Commission  for  a  Commercial  Treaty,  ordered  to  be 
prepared  by  the  Vote  of  May  last,  is  indeed  not  yet  come  to 
hand;  but  by  their  sending  us  repeatedly  Copies  of  that 


1784]  TO  HENRY  LAURENS  179 

Vote ;  and  nothing  more,  it  looks  as  if  they  thought  we  might 
proceed,  by  virtue  of  it,  to  prepare  a  Plan  of  a  Treaty.  Hav- 
ing written  expressly  on  the  subject,  we  may  expect  soon  to 
know  their  minds  more  perfectly. 

I  thank  you  much  for  your  information  of  the  proceedings 
of  the  West  India  People.  It  seems  to  me  that  we  cannot  be 
much  hurt  by  any  selfish  Regulations  the  English  may  make 
respecting  our  Trade  with  their  Islands.  Those  who  at  pres- 
ent wish  to  kick  the  Hedge-hog,  will  grow  tired  of  that  sport 
when  they  find  their  own  Toes  bleed. 

I  have  just  received  a  letter  from  the  Secretary  of  Congress, 
Mr.  Thomson,  of  which  I  inclose  a  Copy.  The  Term  for 
exchanging  the  Ratifications  was  expired  before  it  came  to 
hand.  Mr.  Hartley  having  frequently  written  to  me  to  know 
if  the  Ratification  was  arrived,  I  have  communicated  to  him 
this  Letter,  that  he  might  see  the  delay  was  occasioned  only 
by  qnforeseen  Accidents,  and  that  we  had  reason  to  expect 
receiving  it  by  the  return  of  the  Washington  Packet.  I  do  not 
imagine  that  any  difficulty  will  be  occasioned  by  this  Circum- 
stance; but  perhaps  it  may  not  be  amiss,  if  you  are  well 
enough,  to  see  Mr.  Hartley  on  the  subject,  and  should  any 
Agreement  to  extend  the  Term  be  necessary,  you  can  enter 
into  it  as  well  as  if  we  were  all  present. 

I  write  this  in  great  pain  from  the  Gout  in  both  Feet ;  but 
my  young  friend,  your  son,  having  informed  me  that  he  sets 
out  for  London  to-morrow,  I  could  not  slip  the  opportunity, 
as  perhaps  it  is  the  only  safe  one  that  may  occur  before  your 
departure  for  America.  I  wish  mine  was  as  near.  I  think  I 
have  reason  to  complain,  that  I  am  so  long  without  an  answer 
from  Congress  to  my  request  of  Recall.  I  wish  rather  to  die 
in  my  own  Country  than  here;  and  though  the  upper  part 


i8o        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

of  the  Building  appears  yet  tolerably  firm,  yet,  being  under- 
min'd  by  the  Stone  and  Gout  united,  its  Fall  cannot  be  far 
distant. 

You  are  so  good  as  to  offer  me  your  friendly  Services.  You 
cannot  do  me  one  more  acceptable  at  present,  than  that  of 
forwarding  my  Dismission.  In  all  other  respects,  as  well  as 
that,  I  shall  ever  look  on  your  Friendship  as  an  Honour  to  me ; 
being  with  sincere  and  great  esteem,  dear  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.S.  March  13**  Having  had  a  tolerable  night,  I  find 
myself  something  better  this  morning.  In  reading  over  my 
letter,  I  perceive  an  Omission  of  my  thanks  for  your  kind 
Assurances  of  never  forsaking  my  Defence,  should  there  be 
need.  I  apprehend  that  the  violent  Antipathy  of  a  certain 
person  to  me  may  have  produced  some  Calumnies,  which, 
what  you  have  seen  and  heard  here  may  enable  you  easily  to 
refute.  You  will  thereby  exceedingly  oblige  one,  who  has 
lived  beyond  all  other  Ambition,  than  that  of  dying  with  the 
fair  Character  he  has  long  endeavoured  to  deserve.  As  to 
my  Infallibility,  which  you  do  not  undertake  to  maintain,  I 
am  too  modest  myself  to  claim  it,  that  is,  in  general;  tho' 
when  we  come  to  particulars  >  I,  like  other,  people,  give  it  up 
with  difficulty.  Steele  says,  that  the  difference  between  the 
Church  of  Rome,  and  the  Church  of  England  on  that  point, 
is  only  this;  that  the  one  pretends  to  be  infallible,  and  the 
other  to  be  never  in  the  wrong.  In  this  latter  Sense,  we  are 
most  of  us  Church  of  England  men,  though  few  of  us  confess 
it,  and  express  it  so  naturally  and  frankly,  as  a  certain  great 
Lady  here,  who  said,  "I  don't  know  how  it  happens,  but  I 
meet  with  nobody,  except  myself,  that  is  always  in  the  right ; 
//  n'y  a  que  moi  qui  a  toujours  raison" 


1784]         TO  LA  SABLIERE  DE  LA   CONDAMINE  181 

My  Grandson  joins  me  in  affectionate  Respects  to  you  and 
the  young  lady ;  with  best  wishes  for  your  Health  and  Pros- 
perity.   

1487.    TO  MRS.  MARY  HEWSON  l       (P.  c.) 

Passy,  March  19,  1784. 

You  will  forget  me  quite,  my  dear  old  Friend,  if  I  do  not 
write  to  you  now  and  then. 

I  still  exist,  and  still  enjoy  some  Pleasure  in  that  Existence, 
tho'  now  in  my  79th  year.  Yet  I  feel  the  Infirmities  of  Age 
come  on  so  fast,  and  the  Building  to  need  so  many  Repairs, 
that  in  a  little  time  the  Owner  will  find  it  cheaper  to  pull  it 
down  and  build  a  new  one.  I  wish,  however,  to  see  you  first, 
but  I  begin  to  doubt  the  Possibility.  My  Children  join  in 
Love  to  you  and  yours,  with  your  affectionate  Friend, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1488.     TO    LA    SABLIERE    DE    LA    CONDAMINE2 

(A.  P.  S.) 
Passy,  March  19,  1784 

SIR, 

I  received  the  very  obliging  Letter  you  did  me  honour  of 
writing  to  me  the  8th  Inst.  with  the  epigram  8  &c.  for  which 
please  to  accept  my  Thanks. 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.  —  ED. 

2  A  physician  who  wrote  to  Franklin  from  "  Chateau  de  Colet  a  Steroman 
de  Beauvoir,  par  St.  Marcellin,  en  Dauphine,  le  8  Mars  1784"  (A.  P.  S.).     He 
was  the  author  of"  Memoires  sur  PInoculation  de  la  Petite  Verole,"  Paris,  1768 
—  ED. 

8  "  Epigramme  —  sur  les  Balons  aerostatiques  dont  tout  le  monde  raffole 
aujourd'hui. 

Charles,  Pilatres,  Montgolfier, 
Vos  balons  aerostatiques, 


1 82       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

You  desire  my  Sentiments  concerning  the  Cures  perform'd 
by  Comus  &  Mesmer.  I  think  that  in  general,  Maladies 
caus'd  by  Obstructions  may  be  treated  by  Electricity  with 
Advantage.  As  to  the  Animal  Magnetism,  so  much  talk'd 
of,  I  am  totally  unacquainted  with  it,  and  must  doubt  its 
Existence  till  I  can  see  or  feel  some  Effect  of  it.  None  of 
the  Cures  said  to  be  perform'd  by  it,  have  fallen  under  my 
Observation ;  and  there  being  so  many  Disorders  which  cure 
themselves  and  such  a  Disposition  in  Mankind  to  deceive 
themselves  and  one  another  on  these  Occasions;  and  living 
long  having  given  me  frequent  Opportunities  of  seeing  certain 
Remedies  cry'd  up  as  curing  everything,  and  yet  soon  after 
totally  laid  aside  as  useless,  I  cannot  but  fear  that  the  Expec- 
tation of  great  Advantage  from  the  new  Method  of  treating 
Diseases,  will  prove  a  Delusion.  That  Delusion  may  how- 
ever in  some  cases  be  of  use  while  it  lasts.  There  are  in  every 
great  rich  City  a  Number  of  Persons  who  are  never  in  health, 
because  they  are  fond  of  Medicines  and  always  taking  them, 
whereby  they  derange  the  natural  Functions,  and  hurt  their 
Constitutions.  If  these  People  can  be  persuaded  to  forbear 

J'en  conviens,  sont  fort  magnifiques ; 
Mais,  on  ne  S9auroit  s'y  fier. — 
—  Laissons  a  chacun  son  domaine ; 
Dieu  fit  les  airs  pour  les  oiseaux, 
Aux  poissons  il  donna  les  eaux, 
Et  la  terre  a  1'espece  humaine,  — 
Cultivons-la  mes  chers  amis, — 
Traivaillons,  —  c'est  la  mon  avis ; 
Nous  en  ferons  mieux  nos  affaires ; 
Tandisque  est  fous  imprudens, 
Livres  a  leurs  doctes  chimeres, 
Iront,  voyageurs  temeraires, 
Prendre  la  lune  avec  les  dents." 

This  feu  d'  esprit  was  sent  by  its  author  to  the  General  Journal  of  France, 
but  it  was  rejected.  —  ED. 


1784]  AN  ECONOMICAL  PROJECT  183 

their  Drugs  in  Expectation  of  being  cured  by  only  the  Phy- 
sician's Finger  or  an  Iron  Rod  pointing  at  them,  they  may 
possibly  find  good  Effects  tho'  they  mistake  the  Cause.  I 

have  the  honour  to  be,  Sir,  &c. 

[B.  FRANKLIN.] 


1489.    TO  M.  MAZUE  l  (A.  P.  s.) 

Passy,  March  19,  1784 

SIR 

I  received  your  Favour  of  the  27th  past,  proposing  the  Cul- 
tivation of  the  Vine  hi  America.  Our  people  conceive  that 
it  is  yet  too  early  to  put  such  a  project  in  Execution.  Labour 
is  too  dear  there,  and  the  Culture  of  Wheat  more  profitable 
&  certain ;  in  Exchange  for  which  either  directly  or  indirectly, 
we  can  procure  the  Wines  of  Europe. 

I  cannot  therefore  give  you  any  Hopes  of  Success  in  such 
an  Enterprise;  for  tho'  proper  Land  &  Climate  might  be 
found,  the  Wines  could  not  be  produc'd  so  cheap  as  they  are 

imported.     I  have  the  honour  to  be  Sir 

[B.  FRANKLIN.] 

1490.    AN  ECONOMICAL  PROJECT2 
TO  THE  AUTHORS  OF  THE  JOURNAL  OF  PARIS. 

MESSIEURS, 

You  often  entertain  us  with  accounts  of  new  discoveries. 
Permit  me  to  communicate  to  the  public,  through  your  paper, 

1  In  answer  to  a  letter  from  Marseilles,  dated  February  27,  1784  (A.  P.  S.). 
—  ED. 

2  No  attempt  has  hitherto  been  made  to  assign  a  date   to  this  bagatelle. 
Quinquet  invented  the  lamp  that  bears  his  name  early  in  1784.     Evidently 


184       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

one  that  has  lately  been  made  by  myself,  and  which  I  conceive 
may  be  of  great  utility. 

I  was  the  other  evening  in  a  grand  company,  where  the 
new  lamp  of  Messrs.  Quinquet  and  Lange  was  introduced, 
and  much  admired  for  its  splendour;  but  a  general  inquiry 
was  made,  whether  the  oil  it  consumed  was  not  in  proportion 
to  the  light  it  afforded,  in  which  case  there  would  be  no  sav- 
ing in  the  use  of  it.  No  one  present  could  satisfy  us  hi  that 
point,  which  all  agreed  ought  to  be  known,  it  being  a  very 
desirable  thing  to  lessen,  if  possible,  the  expense  of  lighting 
our  apartments,  when  every  other  article  of  family  expense 
was  so  much  augmented. 

I  was  pleased  to  see  this  general  concern  for  economy,  for 
I  love  economy  exceedingly. 

I  went  home,  and  to  bed,  three  or  four  hours  after  midnight, 
with  my  head  full  of  the  subject.  An  accidental  sudden 
noise  waked  me  about  six  in  the  morning,  when  I  was  sur- 
prised to  find  my  room  filled  with  light;  and  I  imagined  at 
first,  that  a  number  of  those  lamps  had  been  brought  into  it ; 
but,  rubbing  my  eyes,  I  perceived  the  light  came  in  at  the  win- 
dows. I  got  up  and  looked  out  to  see  what  might  be  the 
occasion  of  it,  when  I  saw  the  sun  just  rising  above  the 
horizon,  from  whence  he  poured  his  rays  plentifully  into  my 
chamber,  my  domestic  having  negligently  omitted,  the  pre- 
ceding evening,  to  close  the  shutters. 

I  looked  at  my  watch,  which  goes  very  well,  and  found  that 
it  was  but  six  o'clock;  and  still  thinking  it  something  ex- 
traordinary that  the  sun  should  rise  so  early,  I  looked  into  the 

this  article  was  written  while  that  lamp  was  still  exciting  curiosity  by  its 
novelty.  From  page  186  it  appears  that  the  exact  day  of  the  composition  was 
March  20,  1784.  —  ED. 


1784]  AN  ECONOMICAL  PROJECT  185 

almanac,  where  I  found  it  to  be  the  hour  given  for  his  rising 
on  that  day.  I  looked  forward,  too,  and  found  he  was  to 
rise  still  earlier  every  day  till  towards  the  end  of  June;  and 
that  at  no  time  in  the  year  he  retarded  his  rising  so  long  as 
till  eight  o'clock.  Your  readers,  who  with  me  have  never 
seen  any  signs  of  sunshine  before  noon,  and  seldom  regard 
the  astronomical  part  of  the  almanac,  will  be  as  much  aston- 
ished as  I  was,  when  they  hear  of  his  rising  so  early;  and 
especially  when  I  assure  them,  that  he  gives  light  as  soon  as 
he  rises.  I  am  convinced  of  this.  I  am  certain  of  my  fact. 
One  cannot  be  more  certain  of  any  fact.  I  saw  it  with  my 
own  eyes.  And,  having  repeated  this  observation  the  three 
following  mornings,  I  found  always  precisely  the  same  re- 
sult. 

Yet  it  so  happens,  that  when  I  speak  of  this  discovery  to 
others,  I  can  easily  perceive  by  their  countenances,  though 
they  forbear  expressing  it  in  words,  that  they  do  not  quite 
believe  me.  One,  indeed,  who  is  a  learned  natural  philoso- 
pher, has  assured  me  that  I  must  certainly  be  mistaken  as 
to  the  circumstance  of  the  light  coming  into  my  room;  for 
it  being  well  known,  as  he  says,  that  there  could  be  no  light 
abroad  at  that  hour,  it  follows  that  none  could  enter  from 
without ;  and  that  of  consequence,  my  windows  being  accident- 
ally left  open,  instead  of  letting  in  the  light,  had  only  served 
to  let  out  the  darkness;  and  he  used  many  ingenious  argu- 
ments to  show  me  how  I  might,  by  that  means,  have  been 
deceived.  I  owned  that  he  puzzled  me  a  little,  but  he  did  not 
satisfy  me ;  and  the  subsequent  observations  I  made,  as  above 
mentioned,  confirmed  me  in  my  first  opinion. 

This  event  has  given  rise  in  my  mind  to  several  serious 
and  important  reflections.  I  considered  that,  if  I  had  not 


1 86       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

been  awakened  so  early  in  the  morning,  I  should  have  slept 
six  hours  longer  by  the  light  of  the  sun,  and  in  exchange  have 
lived  six  hours  the  following  night  by  candle-light;  and,  the 
latter  being  a  much  more  expensive  light  than  the  former,  my 
love  of  economy  induced  me  to  muster  up  what  little  arith- 
metic I  was  master  of,  and  to  make  some  calculations,  which  I 
shall  give  you,  after  observing  that  utility  is,  in  my  opinion 
the  test  of  value  in  matters  of  invention,  and  that  a  discovery 
which  can  be  applied  to  no  use,  or  is  not  good  for  something, 
is  good  for  nothing. 

I  took  for  the  basis  of  my  calculation  the  supposition  that 
there  are  one  hundred  thousand  families  in  Paris,  and  that 
these  families  consume  in  the  night  half  a  pound  of  bougies, 
or  candles,  per  hour.  I  think  this  is  a  moderate  allowance, 
taking  one  family  with  another;  for  though  I  believe  some 
consume  less,  I  know  that  many  consume  a  great  deal  more. 
Then  estimating  seven  hours  per  day  as  the  medium  quantity 
between  the  time  of  the  sun's  rising  and  ours,  he  rising  during 
the  six  following  months  from  six  to  eight  hours  before  noon, 
and  there  being  seven  hours  of  course  per  night  in  which  we 
burn  candles,  the  account  will  stand  thus ;  — 

In  the  six  months  between  the  2Oth  of  March  and  the  2oth 
of  September,  there  are 

Nights 183 

Hours  of  each  night  hi  which  we  burn  candles  7 

Multiplication  gives  for  the  total  number  of 
hours 1,281 

These  1,281  hours  multiplied  by  100,000,  the 

number  of  inhabitants,  give        128,100,000 

One  hundred  twenty- eight  millions  and  one 

hundred  thousand  hours,  spent  at  Paris  by 


1784]  AN  ECONOMICAL  PROJECT  187 

candle-light,  which,  at  half  a  pound  of  wax 
and  tallow  per  hour,  gives  the  weight  of  .  .  64,050,000 
Sixty-four  millions  and  fifty  thousand  of  pounds, 
which,  estimating  the  whole  at  the  medium 
price  of  thirty  sols  the  pound,  makes  the  sum 
of  ninety-six  millions  and  seventy-five  thou- 
sand livres  tournois 96,075,000 

An  immense  sum !  that  the  city  of  Paris  might  save  every 
year,  by  the  economy  of  using  sunshine  instead  of  candles. 

If  it  should  be  said,  that  people  are  apt  to  be  obstinately 
attached  to  old  customs,  and  that  it  will  be  difficult  to  in- 
duce them  to  rise  before  noon,  consequently  my  discovery 
can  be  of  little  use ;  I  answer,  Nil  desperandum.  I  believe  all 
who  have  common  sense,  as  soon  as  they  have  learnt  from 
this  paper  that  it  is  daylight  when  the  sun  rises,  will  contrive 
to  rise  with  him;  and,  to  compel  the  rest,  I  would  propose 
the  following  regulations; 

First.  Let  a  tax  be  laid  of  a  louis  per  window,  on  every 
window  that  is  provided  with  shutters  to  keep  out  the  light 
of  the  sun. 

Second.  Let  the  same  salutary  operation  of  police  be 
made  use  of,  to  prevent  our  burning  candles,  that  inclined 
us  last  winter  to  be  more  economical  in  burning  wood ;  that 
is,  let  guards  be  placed  in  the  shops  of  the  wax  and  tallow 
chandlers,  and  no  family  be  permitted  to  be  supplied  with 
more  than  one  pound  of  candles  per  week. 

Third.  Let  guards  also  be  posted  to  stop  all  the  coaches, 
&c.  that  would  pass  the  streets  after  sun-set,  except  those  of 
physicians,  surgeons,  and  midwives. 

Fourth.  Every  morning,  as  soon  as  the  sun  rises,  let  all 
the  bells  in  every  church  be  set  ringing;  and  if  that  is  not 


i88       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

sufficient,  let  cannon  be  fired  in  every  street,  to  wake  the 
sluggards  effectually,  and  make  them  open  their  eyes  to  see 
their  true  interest. 

All  the  difficulty  will  be  in  the  first  two  or  three  days ;  after 
which  the  reformation  will  be  as  natural  and  easy  as  the  pres- 
ent irregularity;  for,  ce  n'est  que  le  premier  pas  qui  coftte. 
Oblige  a  man  to  rise  at  four  hi  the  morning,  and  it  is  more 
than  probable  he  will  go  willingly  to  bed  at  eight  in  the 
evening ;  and,  having  had  eight  hours  sleep,  he  will  rise  more 
willingly  at  four  in  the  morning  following.  But  this  sum  of 
ninety-six  millions  and  seventy-five  thousand  livres  is  not  the 
whole  of  what  may  be  saved  by  my  economical  project.  You 
may  observe,  that  I  have  calculated  upon  only  one  half  of 
the  year,  and  much  may  be  saved  hi  the  other,  though  the 
days  are  shorter.  Besides,  the  immense  stock  of  wax  and 
tallow  left  unconsumed  during  the  summer,  will  probably 
make  candles  much  cheaper  for  the  ensuing  winter,  and  con- 
tinue them  cheaper  as  long  as  the  proposed  reformation 
shall  be  supported. 

For  the  great  benefit  of  this  discovery,  thus  freely  com- 
municated and  bestowed  by  me  on  the  public,  I  demand 
neither  place,  pension,  exclusive  privilege,  nor  any  other 
reward  whatever.  I  expect  only  to  have  the  honour  of  it. 
And  yet  I  know  there  are  little,  envious  minds,  who  will,  as 
usual,  deny  me  this,  and  say,  that  my  invention  was  known 
to  the  ancients,  and  perhaps  they  may  bring  passages  out  of 
the  old  books  in  proof  of  it.  I  will  not  dispute  with  these 
people,  that  the  ancients  knew  not  the  sun  would  rise  at 
certain  hours;  they  possibly  had,  as  we  have,  almanacs  that 
predicted  it ;  but  it  does  not  follow  thence,  that  they  knew  he 
gave  light  as  soon  as  he  rose.  This  is  what  I  claim  as  my  dis- 


1784]  TO  JOHN  PAUL  JONES  189 

covery.  If  the  ancients  knew  it,  it  might  have  been  long 
since  forgotten ;  for  it  certainly  was  unknown  to  the  moderns, 
at  least  to  the  Parisians,  which  to  prove,  I  need  use  but  one 
plain  simple  argument.  They  are  as  well  instructed,  judi- 
cious, and  prudent  a  people  as  exist  anywhere  in  the  world, 
all  professing,  like  myself,  to  be  lovers  of  economy;  and, 
from  the  many  heavy  taxes  required  from  them  by  the 
necessities  of  the  state,  have  surely  an  abundant  reason  to  be 
economical.  I  say  it  is  impossible  that  so  sensible  a  people, 
under  such  circumstances,  should  have  lived  so  long  by  the 
smoky,  unwholesome,  and  enormously  expensive  light  of 
candles,  if  they  had  really  known,  that  they  might  have  had 
as  much  pure  light  of  the  sun  for  nothing.  I  am,  &c. 

A  SUBSCRIBER. 


1491.    TO  JOHN  PAUL  JONES          (B.  if.) 

Passy,  March  25,  1784 

SIR 

I  return  herewith  the  Papers  you  communicated  to  me 
yesterday.  I  perceive  by  the  Extract  from  M.  de  Sartine's 
Letter  1  that  it  was  his  Intention  all  the  Charges  which  had 
accru'd  upon  the  Serapis  and  Countess  oj  Scarborough  should 
be  deducted  from  the  Prize  money  payable  to  the  Captors, 
particularly  the  Expence  of  Victualling  the  Seamen  and 
Prisoners ;  and  that  the  Liquidation  of  those  Charges  should 
be  referr'd  to  me.  This  Liquidation  however  never  was 
referr'd  to  me;  and  if  it  had,  I  should  have  been  cautious 
of  acting  in  it,  having  receiv'd  no  Power  from  the  Captors, 
either  French  or  Americans,  authorising  me  to  decide  upon 

1  Dated  May  29,  1780.  —  ED. 


190       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

anything  respecting  their  Interests.  And  I  certainly  should 
not  have  agreed  to  charge  the  American  Captors  with  any 
Part  of  the  Expence  of  maintaining  the  600  Prisoners  in 
Holland  till  they  could  be  exchanged,  when  none  of  them  were 
exchanged  for  Americans  in  England,  as  was  your  Intention, 
&  as  we  both  had  been  made  to  expect. 
With  great  Esteem,  I  have  the  honour  to  be 

Sir,  Your  most  obedient 

humble  Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN 


1492.    TO  JOHN  ADAMS          (M.  H.  s.) 

Passy  March  31,  1784 

SIR 

I  have  the  honour  of  acquainting  your  Excellency,  that 
our  express  from  Congress  is  at  last  arrived,  with  their 
Ratification  of  the  Definitive  Treaty.  Inclosed  I  send  Copies 
of  the  President's  Letter,  the  Recommendatory  Resolution, 
and  the  Proclamation,  together  with  three  Letters  for  your- 
self. We  have  written  to  Mr  Hartley  that  we  are  now  ready 
to  make  the  Exchange. 

With  great  Respect,  I  am,  etc. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


•  i  ; 


1493.    TO  CHARLES  THOMSON  ' 

Passy,  March  31,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  write  this  line  by  the  English  packet,  just  to  inform  you, 
that  Colonel  Harmar  arrived  here  last  Monday  evening  with 

1  First  printed  by  Sparks,  Vol.  X,  p.  439.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO   CHARLES  THOMSON  191 

the  ratification,  and  that  Mr.  Jay  and  myself  (Messrs.  Adams 
and  Laurens  being  absent)  have  written  to  Mr.  Hartley  at 
London,  that  we  are  ready  to  exchange  with  him.  I  have 
not  heard  that  the  delay  is  likely  to  occasion  any  difficulty. 
I  had  before  communicated  to  him  your  letter  of  the  5th  of 
January,  which  gave  the  reason  of  it.  With  great  esteem, 
I  am  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1494.    TO  MADAME  BRILLON     (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy  March  31,  '84. 

Voici,  ma  tre*s  cher  Amie,  une  de  mes  Plaisanteries  serieuses, 
ou  sourdes,  que  je  vous  envois,  esperant  qu'elle  pourra 
peutetre  vous  amuser  un  peu.  Au  quel  cas,  vous  me  recom- 
penserez  en  me  donnant  je  n'ose  dire  un  Baiser,  car  les  votres 
sont  trop  precieux,  et  vous  en  e*tes  trop  chiche;  mais  vous 
me  j'ouerez  un  Noel  et  Pexcellent  Marche  des  Insurgents. 

B.  F. 


1495.    TO  CHARLES  THOMSON  ' 

Passy,  April  16th,  1784. 
DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  Letters  by  Colonel  Harmar,  and 
Lieut-Colonel  Frank,  with  the  Dispatches,  in  good  order; 
triplicates  of  which  are  since  come  to  hand.  You  will  see 
by  our  letter  to  the  President,  that  we  daily  expect  Mr. 
Hartley  from  London,  with  the  British  Ratification  to  ex- 
change with  us.  There  was  no  difficulty  occasioned  by  the 
kpse  of  the  term. 

1  From  the  original  in  the  New  York  Historical  Society.  —  ED. 


I92       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

I  send  you  herewith  four  packets  of  newspapers,  by  which 
you  will  be  informed  of  the  confusions  that  have  reigned  all 
winter  in  England,  and  the  probability  of  their  being  finish'd 
by  the  choice  of  a  new  Parliament,  in  which  the  present  Min- 
istry will  have  a  great  majority.  The  n.  papers  are  directed 
for  the  Presid*.  You  are  good  in  excusing  the  trouble  I 
have  given  you  with  so  many  little  affairs  and  enquiries,  and 
enabling  me  to  give  some  answer  to  the  persons  who  make 
them.  I  am  pestered  continually  with  such  matters. 

I  am  happy  in  learning  from  you,  that  disposition  begins 
to  prevail  in  the  States,  to  comply  with  the  requisitions  of 
Congress,  and  Funds  for  the  regular  payment  of  the  Interest, 
and  discharge  of  the  Principal  of  the  Debts  contracted  by 
the  War.  Punctuality  and  exact  justice  will  contribute  more 
to  our  reputation,  and,  of  course,  to  our  strength,  than  people 
generally  imagine.  Without  those  virtues,  we  shall  find  it 
difficult  in  case  6f  another  war  to  obtain  either  friends  or 
money;  and  a  reliance  on  that  may  encourage  and  hasten 
another  attack  upon  us.  Gratitude  to  our  former  bene- 
factors is  another  point  we  should  seize  every  opportunity 
of  demonstrating.  I  place,  with  you,  much  confidence  in  the 
good  sense  of  our  countrymen;  and  thence  I  hope,  that  the 
endeavours  of  some  persons  on  both  sides  the  water,  to  sow 
jealousies  and  suspicions,  and  create  misunderstandings 
between  France  and  us,  will  be  ineffectual. 

A  Commission  from  Congress  for  a  Commercial  Treaty 
with  Britain  has  long  been  expected.  If  the  intention  of 
sending  such  a  Commission  is  not  changed,  I  wish  it  may 
arrive  before  Mr.  Laurens  leaves  us,  who  has  a  more  perfect 
knowledge  of  the  subject  than  any  of  us,  and  might  be  greatly 
useful.  A  Minister  from  Denmark  has  been  waiting  in  Paris 


1784]  TO  JOHN  WALTER  193 

all  winter  for  the  result  of  Congress  on  the  proposed 
Treaty,  a  plan  of  which  was  long  sent,  as  also  one  for  a 
Treaty  with  Portugal.  I  hope  by  the  return  of  the  Wash- 
ington pacquet,  we  may  receive  some  directions  respecting 
them.  I  am,  with  sincere  and  great  esteem,  my  Dear 
Friend,  yours  most  affectionately,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1496.    TO    JOHN   WALTER1  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  17,  1784. 
SIR, 

I  have  received  a  Book,  for  which  I  understand  I  am  obliged 
to  you,  the  "Introduction  to  Logography."     I  have  read  it 

1  John  Walter  (1739-1812),  founder  of  The  Times,  succeeded  to  his 
father's  business  as  a  coal  merchant  in  the  city  of  London.  He  abandoned 
it  for  that  of  an  underwriter,  failed  in  consequence  of  the  American  war,  and 
announced  his  bankruptcy  in  1782.  Two  years  later  he  purchased  the 
premises  in  Printing  House  Square,  the  site  of  the  Black  friars  Theatre,  which 
had  been  unoccupied  since  the  removal  of  Eyre  and  Strahan  in  1770,  where  he 
began  business  as  a  printer,  using  Johnson's  invention  of  "  logotypes "  or 
founts  composed  of  complete  words,  instead  of  separate  letters.  Some  forty 
books  were  printed  by  the  logographic  process  and  sold  by  John  Walter.  He 
also  started  a  newspaper  called  The  Daily  Universal  Register,  of  which  the 
first  number,  "  printed  logographically,"  was  issued  January  I,  1 785.  The  nine- 
hundred-and-fortieth  number  (January  I,  1788)  was  entitled  The  Times,  or 
Daily  Universal  Register,  and  was  also  "  printed  logographically."  A  letter 
from  John  Walter  to  Lord  Kenyon,  July  6,  1799  (Hist.  Mss.  Comm.  I4th 
Report  App.  Pt.  IV,  p.  551),  contains  the  following  interesting  personal  narra- 
tive. "  Among  many  other  projects  which  offered  themselves  to  my  view  was 
a  plan  to  print  logographically.  I  sat  down  closely  to  digest  it,  and  formed  a 
fount  which  reduced  the  English  language  from  ninety  thousand  words  which 
were  usually  used  in  printing  to  about  fifteen  hundred.  ...  By  this  means  I 
was  enabled  to  print  much  faster  than  by  taking  up  single  letters.  ...  I  was 
advised  to  get  a  number  of  nobility  and  men  of  letters  ...  to  patronise  the 
plan,  to  which  his  Majesty  was  to  have  been  the  patron.  But  happening 
unfortunately  as  it  turned  out,  to  correspond  with  Dr.  Franklin,  then  ambassa- 
VOL.  IX  —  o 


I94        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

with  Attention,  and,  as  far  as  I  understand  it,  am  much  pleas'd 
with  it.  I  do  not  perfectly  comprehend  the  Arrangement  of 
his  Cases ;  but  the  Reduction  of  the  Number  of  Pieces  by  the 
Roots  of  Words,  and  their  different  Terminations,  is  extreamly 
ingenious ;  and  I  like  much  the  Idea  of  cementing  the  Letters, 
instead  of  casting  Words  or  Syllables,  which  I  formerly 
attempted,  and  succeeded  in  having  invented  a  Mould,  and 
Method  by  which  I  could  in  a  few  minutes,  form  a  Matrice, 
and  adjust  it,  of  any  Word  in  any  Fount  at  pleasure,  and  pro- 
ceed to  cast  from  it. 

I  send  enclosed  a  specimen  of  some  of  my  Terminations, 
and  would  willingly  instruct  Mr.  Johnson  *  in  the  Method  if 
he  desired  it;  but  he  has  a  better.  He  mentions  some  Im- 
provements of  Printing  that  have  been  proposed,  but  takes 
no  Notice  of  one  published  here  at  Paris,  in  1776 ;  so  I  suppose 
he  has  neither  seen  nor  heard  of  it.  It  is  in  a  Quarto  Pam- 
phlet, entitled,  "Nouveau  Systeme  Typographique,  ou  Moyen 
de  diminuer,  de  Moitie,  dans  toutes  les  Imprimeries  de  V Eu- 
rope, le  Travail  et  les  Frais  de  Composition,  de  Correction,  et 
de  Distribution,  decouvert  en  1774,  par  Madame  de  *  *  *.2 
Frustra  fit  per  plura  quod  potest  fieri  per  pauciora.  A  Parisy 
de  nmprimerie  Royale,  MDCCLXXVL"  It  is  dedicated 


dor  at  Paris,  whose  opinion  I  wished  for,  his  name  was  among  my  list  of  sub- 
scribers, and  when  it  was  given,  among  near  two  hundred  more,  to  the  King's 
librarian  and  a  fount  of  the  cemented  words  had  been  sent  there  [Buckingham 
Palace]  for  his  Majesty's  inspection  and  acceptance,  I  found  an  increasing 
coolness  in  the  librarian,  and  afterwards  a  note  from  him,  saying  the  King  had 
viewed  it  with  pleasure,  but,  there  being  no  room  in  Buckingham  House,  he 
desired  I  would  send  some  person  to  take  it  away.  Thus  ended  royal  patron- 
age." See  J.  R.  Thursfield  in  "  Diet.  Nat.  Biog."  —  ED. 

1  Henry  Johnson,  the  inventor,  from  whom  John  Walter  purchased  the 
patent  rights.  —  ED. 

2  Madame  de  St.  Paul.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  JOHN  WALTER  195 

to  the  King,  who  was  at  the  Expence  of  the  Experiments. 
Two  Commissaries  were  named  to  examine  and  render  an 
Account  of  them ;  they  were  M.  Desmarets,  of  the  Academy 
of  Sciences,  and  M.  Barbou,4  an  eminent  Printer.  Their 
Report  concludes  thus;  "Nous  nous  contenterons  de  dire  ici, 
que  M.  de  St.  Paul  a  rempli  les  engagemens  qu'il  avoit  con- 
tracted avec  le  Gouvernement ;  que  ses  experiences  projete*es 
ont  e*te*  conduites  avec  beaucoup  de  me*thode  et  d' intelligence 
de  sa  part ;  et  que  par  des  calculs  longs  et  pe*nibles,  qui  sont  le 
fruit  d'un  grand  nombre  de  combinaisons  raisonne'es,  il  en  a 
de*duit  plusieurs  re*sultats  qui  me'ritent  d'etre  proposes  aux 
artistes,  et  qui  nous  paroissent  propres  a  e*clairer  la  pratique 
de  Pimprimerie  actuelle,  et  a  en  abre*ger  certainement  les 
proce'de'es.  .  .  .  Son  projet  ne  peut  que  gagner  aux  con- 
tradictions qu'il  essuiera  sans  doute,  de  la  part  des  gens  de 
Part.  A  Paris,  le  8  Janvier,  1776."  The  pamphlet  consists 
of  66  Pages,  containing  a  Number  of  Tables  of  Words  and 
Parts  of  Words,  Explanations  of  those  Tables,  Calculations, 
answers  to  Objections,  &c.  I  will  endeavour  to  get  one  to 
send  you  if  you  desire  it ;  mine  is  bound  up  with  others  in  a 
Volume. 

It  was  after  seeing  this  Piece,  that  I  cast  the  Syllables  I 
send  you  a  Sample  of.  I  have  not  heard,  that  any  of  the 
Printers  here  make  at  present  the  least  use  of  the  Invention 
of  Madame  de  *  *  *.  You  will  observe,  that  it  pretended 
only  to  lessen  the  Work  by  one  half ;  Mr.  Johnson's  Method 
lessens  it  three  fourths.  I  should  be  glad  to  know  with  what 
the  Letters  are  cemented.  I  think  cementing  better  than 

1  Nicolas  Desmarest  (1725-1805),  a  student  of  French  industries;  and 
Joseph-Gerard  Barbou  (1715-1813),  one  of  a  notable  family  of  printers,  and 
the  second  of  the  name  to  pursue  the  business  in  Paris.  —  ED. 


196        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

casting  them  together,  because  if  one  Letter  happens  to 
be  battered,  it  may  be  taken  away  and  another  cemented 
in  its  Place.  I  received  no  Letter  with  the  Pamphlet. 
I  am,  Sir,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1497.    TO    DAVID   HARTLEY1  (P.O.) 

Passy  April  17  1784 

DEAR  SIR, 

The  Commissioners  have  received  the  Letter  you  did  them 
the  honour  of  writing  to  them  the  9th  Instant,  and  are  glad 
to  learn  that  they  may  expect  the  Pleasure  of  seeing  you  soon 
again  at  Paris.  It  is  a  particular  Satisfaction  to  me,  as  it 
will  give  me  an  opportunity  of  communicating  an  Idea  to 
you  in  Conversation  which  may  tend  to  promote  your  excel- 
lent views  of  "  effecting  a  cordial  &  conciliatory  Intercourse 
between  our  Countries"  but  which  I  cannot  so  well  explain 
at  present  by  writing. 

The  Bearer,  Col.  Harmar,2  is  an  American  of  good  Char- 
acter, who  visits  England  in  Curiosity  to  see  the  Country 
and  People  he  has  been  fighting  against.  I  wish  to  give  him 
a  good  Opinion  of  them  by  the  Sample  he  may  be  acquainted 
with,  and  therefore  beg  leave  to  recommend  him  to  your 
Acquaintance  &  Civilities. 

With  great  and  inalterable  Esteem  &  Affection 
I  am  ever  my  dear  Friend 

Yours  most  sincerely 
B.  FRANKLIN 

1  From  a  copy  in  the  collection  of  Mrs.  L.  Z.  Leiter.  —  ED. 

2  Josiah  Harmar  (1753-1813)  entered  the  Continental   army  in   the   1st 
Pennsylvanian  regiment  and  served  throughout  the  war.     He  took  the  ratifi- 
cation of  the  definitive  treaty  to  France  in  1784.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  WEBB  197 

1498.    TO   BENJAMIN  WEBB  >          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  22*,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  yours  of  the  i5th  Instant,  and  the  Memorial  it 
inclosed.2  The  account  they  give  of  your  situation  grieves 
me.  I  send  you  herewith  a  Bill  for  Ten  Louis  d'ors.  I  do 
not  pretend  to  give  such  a  Sum ;  I  only  lend  it  to  you.  When 
you  shall  return  to  your  Country  with  a  good  Character,  you 
cannot  fail  of  getting  into  some  Business,  that  will  in  time 
enable  you  to  pay  all  your  Debts.  In  that  Case,  when  you 
meet  with  another  honest  Man  in  similar  Distress,  you  must 
pay  me  by  lending  this  Sum  to  him;  enjoining  him  to  dis- 
charge the  Debt  by  a  like  operation,  when  he  shall  be  able, 
and  shall  meet  with  such  another  opportunity.  I  hope  it 
may  thus  go  thro'  many  hands,  before  it  meets  with  a  Knave 
that  will  stop  its  Progress.  This  is  a  trick  of  mine  for  doing 
a  deal  of  good  with  a  little  money.  I  am  not  rich  enough  to 
afford  much  in  good  works,  and  so  am  obliged  to  be  cunning 
and  make  the  most  of  a  little.  With  best  wishes  for  the  success 
of  your  Memorial,  and  your  future  prosperity,  I  am,  dear 

Sir,  your  most  obedient  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  The  Duke  of  Sussex  wrote  in  the  margin  of  his  copy  of  Franklin's  works 
(now  in  B.  M.),  "  the  idea  of  this  loan  is  most  beautiful  and  bespeaks  a  good- 
ness of  heart  for  which  one  must  love  the  man."  —  ED. 

2  This  letter  written  at  Geneva  is  in  A.  P.  S.     The  writer  had  been  declared 
a  bankrupt  in  England,  fell  under  suspicion  of  having  secreted  property,  and 
fled  to  the  continent.     He  now  wished  to  return  to  England  and  reembark 
in  business.  —  ED. 


198        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

1499.    TO   HENRY  LAURENS  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  29,  1784 

DEAR  SIR: —  I  received  your  Favour  by  Mr.  Bourdieu 
and  yesterday  another  of  the  i8th,  per  Mr.  Hartley,  who  also 
gave  me  the  Gazette  with  the  Proclamation.  I  am  with  you 
very  little  uneasy  about  that,  or  any  other  Measures  the  Min- 
isters may  think  proper  to  take  with  respect  to  the  Commerce 
with  us.  We  shall  do  very  well.  They  have  long  lost  Sight 
of  their  true  Interest,  and  are  now  wandring  blindfold  in 
search  of  it,  without  being  able  to  find  it;  but  they  may 
jeel  what  they  cannot  at  present  see;  and  all  as  you  say  will 
come  right  at  last. 

Mr.  Hartley  seems  to  have  some  Expectation  of  receiving 
Instructions  to  negociate  a  Commercial  Treaty.  He  thinks 
he  could  hardly  be  sent  here  merely  to  exchange  the  Rati- 
fications. I  have  not  much  dependance  on  this.  Yet  as 
we  are  authoriz'd  to  receive  Overtures  from  any  European 
Power,  and  to  plan  Treaties  to  be  sent  to  Congress  for  Appro- 
bation, and  I  am  not  yet  dismiss'd,  I  shall  much  regret  your 
Absence  if  such  a  Treaty  should  be  brought  upon  the  Tapis : 
for  Mr.  Jay  will  probably  be  gone,  and  I  shall  be  left  alone, 
or  with  Mr.  A.,  and  I  can  have  no  favourable  Opinion  of  what 
may  be  the  Offspring  of  a  Coalition  between  my  ignorance 
and  his  Positiveness.  It  would  help  much  if  we  could  have 
from  you  a  Sketch  of  the  Outlines,  and  leading  Features  of 
the  Treaty,  in  case  your  propos'd  Embarkation  for  America 
should  take  Place  before  Mr.  Hartley  makes  his  Overtures. 

There  being  but  nine  States  present  at  the  Ratification,  was 
owing  only  to  the  extreme  Inclemency  of  the  Season,  which 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  199 

obstructed  Travelling.  There  was  in  Congress  one  Mem- 
ber from  each  of  three  more  States ;  and  all  were  unanimous 
tho'  the  Votes  of  those  three  could  not  be  reckon'd.  It  is 
therefore  without  Foundation  that  those  Gentlemen  flatter 
themselves  from  that  Circumstance  with  a  Defection  of  four 
States  from  the  Union,  and  hence  a  Probability  of  a  Return 
of  the  whole  to  the  Dominion  of  Britain.  What  Folly ! 

My  grandson  joins  in  respectful  Compliments  and  best 
Wishes  with,  Dear  Sir,  your  most  obedient  humble  Servant. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1500.     TO    BENJAMIN   VAUGHAN1 

Passy,  April  29,  1784. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  letters  of  the  i6th  and  2oth  instant. 
I  thank  you  for  your  philosophical  news.  We  have  none  here. 
I  see  your  philosophers  are  in  the  way  of  finding  out  at  last 
what  fire  is.  I  have  long  been  of  opinion,  that  it  exists  every- 
where in  the  state  of  a  subtile  fluid ;  that  too  much  of  that 
fluid  in  our  flesh  gives  us  the  sensation  we  call  heat ;  too  little, 
cold ;  its  vibrations,  light.  That  all  solid  or  fluid  substances, 
which  are  inflammable,  have  been  composed  of  it;  their 
dissolution  in  returning  to  their  original  fluid  state,  we  call 
fire.  This  subtile  fluid  is  attracted  by  plants  and  animals 
in  their  growth,  and  consolidated;  is  attracted  by  other 
substances,  thermometers,  &c.  variously;  has  a  particular 
affinity  with  water,  and  will  quit  many  other  bodies  to  attach 
itself  to  water,  and  go  off  with  it  in  evaporation.  Adieu. 

Yours,  most  sincerely, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  Printed  from  Sparks,  Vol.  VI,  p.  454.  —  ED. 


200      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

1501.    A   LETTER   FROM   CHINA1 

Lisbon,  May  5,  1784. 

SIR, 

AGREEABLE  to  your  desire,  I  have  examined  the  sailor  more 
particularly,  and  shall  now  give  you  the  circumstances  of  his 
story,  with  all  the  observations  he  made  in  the  country,  con- 
cerning which  you  are  so  curious.  He  appears  a  more  intel- 
ligent fellow  than  seamen  in  general.  He  says  that  he  be- 
longed to  the  Resolution,  an  English  ship,  one  of  those  that 
made  the  last  voyage  with  Captain  Cook.  That  on  their 
return,  being  at  Macao,  he  and  a  comrade  of  his  were  over- 
persuaded  by  a  Portuguese  captain,  who  spoke  English  and 
Chinese,  to  desert,  in  order  to  go  with  him  in  a  brigantine  to 
the  northwestern  coast  of  America,  to  purchase  sea-beaver 
skins  from  the  savages,  by  which  they  hoped  to  make  fortunes. 
That  accordingly  they  took  a  boat  belonging  to  the  ship,  got 
ashore  in  the  night,  turned  the  boat  adrift,  and  were  hid  by 
the  Portuguese  captain  till  the  Resolution  was  gone.  That 
this  was  in  January,  1780,  and  that  in  April  following  they 
sailed  from  Macao,  intending  to  go  first  to  a  place  he  calls 
Nooky-Bay,  in  latitude  50.  That  they  had  twenty-five  men, 
with  eight  guns  and  small  arms  for  their  defence,  and  a  quan- 
tity of  iron  ware,  cutlery,  with  European  and  Chinese  toys, 
for  trade. 

That  about  the  beginning  of  May,  in  a  dark  night,  the 
captain  being  sick  in  his  cabin,  they  were  surprised  and  sud- 
denly boarded  by  two  boats  full  of  armed  men,  to  the  number 
of  forty,  who  took  possession  of  the  brig,  no  resistance  being 

iFrom  The  Repository,  May,  1788.  — ED. 


1784]  A  LETTER  FROM  CHINA  201 

made.  That  these  strangers  altered  her  course,  and  stood, 
as  he  saw  by  the  compass,  to  the  northwest ;  that  the  next  day 
the  captain  understood  by  a  Chinese  among  them,  that  they 
were  Curry  *  Ladrones,  or  pirates ;  that  they  had  been  cruis- 
ing on  the  coast  of  China,  and  had  lost  their  vessel  on  a  reef 
the  night  before;  and  it  was  explained  to  the  captain,  that 
if  he  and  his  people  would  work  the  ship,  and  fight  upon  occa- 
sion, they  should  be  well  used,  and  have  a  share  of  plunder, 
or  otherwise  be  thrown  overboard.  That  all  consented,  and 
three  days  after  they  saw  land,  and  coasted  it  northward; 
that  they  took  two  Chinese  junks,  who  were  sent  away  steer- 
ing northeast,  eight  men  being  put  into  each,  and  some  of 
the  Chinese  taken  out.  That  the  brig  went  on  to  the  north- 
ward for  four  days  after,  without  taking  any  thing ;  but  run- 
ning too  near  the  coast  in  chase  of  another  Chinese,  they  stuck 
fast  on  a  shoal  in  a  falling  tide;  that  they  hoped  to  get  off 
by  the  night  flood,  but  were  mistaken,  and  the  next  morning 
were  surrounded  by  a  great  many  armed  boats  and  vessels, 
which  the  chased  vessel,  which  got  in,  had  probably  occa- 
sioned to  come  out  against  them.  That  at  first  they  beat  off 
those  vessels,  but,  reinforcements  coming,  they  saw  it  im- 
possible to  escape,  and  submitted,  and  were  all  brought  on 
shore  and  committed  to  prison. 

That  a  few  days  after  they  were  taken  out  and  examined, 
and,  the  Portuguese  captain  making  it  appear  that  he  and  his 
people  were  prisoners  to  the  Ladrones,  they  were  recommitted, 
and  the  Ladrones  all  beheaded.  That  the  brig,  being  got  off, 
was,  after  some  time,  as  he  understood,  by  an  order  from 
court,  restored  to  the  Portuguese  captain,  who  went  away  in 
her  with  all  his  people,  except  this  relator  and  a  Portuguese 

1  Perhaps  Corf  a.  —  S. 


202       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

lad,  who,  being  both  ill  of  the  flux,  and  likely  to  die,  were  left 
behind  in  prison.  What  became  of  the  brig  afterwards,  he 
never  heard.  That  they  were  well  attended  in  their  sickness, 
and  soon  recovered,  but  were  not  set  at  liberty.  That  the 
prison  was  a  very  clean,  airy  place,  consisting  of  several  courts 
and  ranges  of  building,  the  whole  securely  walled  and  guarded, 
and  governed  with  great  order.  That  every  body  was  obliged 
to  work;  but  his  work  was  not  hard,  it  was  weaving  rushes 
upon  hoops  for  the  bottom  of  chairs,  and  they  had  some 
small  pay  for  them,  which,  added  to  the  prison  allowance  of 
rice  and  chong,  was  more  than  a  sufficiency;  and  he  thinks 
there  are  no  such  comfortable  prisons  in  England,  at  least 
among  those  he  had  been  acquainted  with.  That  he  applied 
himself  to  learn  the  Chinese  language,  and  succeeded  so  far 
at  last  as  to  understand  and  make  himself  understood  in 
common  matters.  That  some  of  the  most  orderly  prisoners 
were  allowed  to  assist  the  neighbouring  country  people  in 
time  of  harvest,  under  the  care  of  overseers.  That  he  and  his 
companion  were  from  time  to  time  made  to  expect  that  orders 
would  come  from  court  for  their  release;  but  he  supposes 
they  were  quite  forgotten.  They  had  written  frequently  to 
the  Popish  missionaries  at  Pekin,  requesting  their  solicita- 
tions, but  received  no  answer;  and  perhaps  the  prison- 
keeper,  who  had  a  profit  on  their  labour,  never  sent  their 
letters. 

That  after  more  than  a  year's  confinement,  being  in  the 
country  at  a  harvest,  he  accidentally  cut  his  foot  very  badly, 
and  was  left  behind  at  a  farmer's  house  to  be  cured;  the 
farmer  undertaking  to  return  him  to  prison  when  recovered. 
That  he  got  into  favour  in  the  family;  that  he  taught  the 
farmer's  wife  to  make  soap,  which  he  understood,  it  being 


1784]  A  LETTER  FROM  CHINA  203 

his  father's  trade.  That  he  had  himself  been  apprentice 'to  a 
shoemaker  before  he  took  to  the  sea ;  and,  finding  some  leather 
in  the  house,  he  made  himself,  with  such  tools  as  he  could  get 
or  make,  a  large  shoe  for  his  lame  foot.  That  the  farmer  ad- 
mired the  shoe  much  above  the  Chinese  shoes,  and  requested 
a  pair  for  himself.  That  he  accordingly  made  shoes  for  the 
farmer,  his  wife,  two  sons,  and  a  daughter.  That  he  was 
obliged  first  to  make  the  lasts  for  all  of  them ;  and  that  it  is 
not  true  that  the  feet  of  Chinese  women  are  less  than  those 
of  English  women.  That,  these  shoes  being  admired,  many 
inhabitants  of  the  neighbouring  village  desired  to  have  of 
them ;  so  he  was  kept  constantly  at  work,  the  farmer  finding 
the  leather,  selling  the  shoes,  and  allowing  him  some  share 
of  the  profit,  by  which  he  got  about  an  ounce  of  silver  per  week, 
all  money  being  weighed  there.  That  the  Chinese  tan  their 
leather  with  oaken  chips,  saw-dust,  and  shavings,  which  are 
saved  by  the  carpenters  for  the  farmers,  who  boil  them,  and 
steep  their  hides  in  the  warm  liquor,  so  that  it  is  sooner  fit 
for  use.  That  the  farmer's  wife  began  to  get  money  by  selling 
soap,  and  they  proposed  to  obtain  his  liberty,  and  keep  him 
in  the  family,  by  giving  him  their  daughter,  when  a  little 
older,  for  a  wife,  with  a  piece  of  land ;  and  he  believes  they 
did  prevail  with  the  jailor,  by  presents,  to  connive  at  his  stay, 
on  pretence  of  his  lameness. 

He  liked  their  way  of  living,  except  their  sometimes  eat- 
ing dog's  flesh.  Their  pork  was  excellent ;  the  rice,  dressed 
various  ways,  all  very  good,  and  the  chong  he  grew  fond  of, 
and  learnt  to  make  it.  They  put  kidney  beans  in  soak  for 
twenty-four  hours,  then  grind  them  in  a  hand-mill,  pouring 
in  water  from  time  to  time  to  wash  the  meal  from  between  the 
stones,  which  falls  into  a  tub  covered  with  a  coarse  cloth  that 


204        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

lets  the  meal  and  water  pass  through,  retaining  only  the  skins 
of  the  beans ;  that  a  very  small  quantity  of  alum,  or  some 
sort  of  salt,  put  into  it,  makes  the  meal  settle  to  the  bottom, 
when  they  pour  off  the  water.  That  it  is  eaten  various  ways, 
by  all  sorts  of  people,  with  milk,  with  meat,  as  thickening 
in  broth,  &c.  That  they  used  also  to  put  a  little  alum  in  their 
river  water  when  foul,  to  clear  it  for  use,  and  by  that  means 
made  it  as  clear  as  rock  water,  the  dirt  all  settling.  Their 
house  was  near  a  great  river,  but  he  does  not  remember  its 
name.  That  he  lived  in  this  family  about  a  year,  but  did  not 
get  the  daughter,  her  grandfather  refusing  his  consent  to  her 
marriage  with  a  stranger. 

That  they  have  a  sort  of  religion,  with  priests  and  churches, 
but  do  not  keep  Sunday,  nor  go  to  church,  being  very  heathen- 
ish. That  in  every  house  there  is  a  little  idol,  to  which  they 
give  thanks,  make  presents,  and  show  respect  in  harvest  time, 
but  very  little  at  other  times ;  and,  inquiring  of  his  master  why 
they  did  not  go  to  church  to  pray,  as  we  do  in  Europe,  he  was 
answered,  they  paid  the  priests  to  pray  for  them,  that  they 
might  stay  at  home  and  mind  their  business;  and  that  it 
would  be  a  folly  to  pay  others  for  praying,  and  then  go  and 
do  the  praying  themselves ;  and  that  the  more  work  they  did 
while  the  priests  prayed,  the  better  able  they  were  to  pay  them 
well  for  praying. 

That  they  have  horses,  but  not  many;  the  breed  small, 
but  strong ;  kept  chiefly  for  war,  and  not  used  in  labour,  nor 
to  draw  carriages.  That  oxen  are  used ;  but  the  chief  of  their 
labour  is  done  by  men,  not  only  in  the  fields,  but  on  the  roads, 
travellers  being  carried  from  town  to  town  in  bamboo  chairs, 
by  hired  chairmen,  throughout  the  country ;  and  goods  also, 
either  hanging  on  poles  between  two,  and  sometimes  four  men, 


1784]  A   LETTER  FROM  CHINA  205 

or  in  wheel-barrows ;  they  having  no  coaches,  carts,  or  wag- 
gons, and  the  roads  being  paved  with  flat  stones. 

They  say  that  their  great  father  (so  they  call  the  emperor) 
forbids  the  keeping  of  horses,  because  he  had  rather  have  his 
country  filled  with  his  children  than  with  brutes;  and  one 
horse  requires  as  much  ground  to  produce  him  food,  as  would 
feed  six  men ;  yet  some  great  people  obtain  leave  to  keep  one 
horse  for  pleasure.  That  the  master,  having  a  farm  left  to 
him  by  a  deceased  relation,  in  a  distant  part  of  the  country, 
sold  the  land  he  lived  on,  and  went  with  the  whole  family  to 
take  possession,  and  live  on  the  other.  That  they  embarked 
in  one  of  the  boats  that  carry  sea  fish  into  the  heart  of  the  em- 
pire, which  are  kept  fresh  even  in  hot  weather,  by  being  packed 
in  great  hampers  with  layers  of  ice  and  straw,  and  repacked 
every  two  or  three  days  with  fresh  ice,  taken  at  ice-houses 
on  the  way.  That  they  had  been  ten  days  on  their  voyage, 
when  they  arrived  at  the  new  farm,  going  up  always  against 
the  stream.  That  the  owner  of  the  boat,  finding  him  handy 
and  strong  in  rowing  and  working  her,  and  one  of  the  hands 
falling  sick,  persuaded  him  to  go  fifteen  days  farther,  promis- 
ing him  great  pay,  and  to  bring  him  back  to  the  family.  But 
that,  having  unloaded  the  fish,  the  Chinese  went  off  with  his 
boat  in  the  night,  leaving  him  behind,  without  paying  him. 
That  there  is  a  great  deal  of  cheating  in  China,  and  no  remedy. 
That  stealing,  robbing,  and  house-breaking  are  punished 
severely ;  but  cheating  is  free  there  in  every  thing,  as  cheating 
in  horses  is  among  our  gentlemen  in  England. 

That,  meeting  at  that  place  with  a  boat  bound  towards 
Canton  in  a  canal,  he  thought  it  might  be  a  means  of  escap- 
ing out  of  that  country,  if  he  went  in  her ;  so  he  shipped  him- 
self to  work  for  his  passage,  though  it  was  with  regret  he 


206       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

left  for  ever  the  kind  family  he  had  so  long  lived  with.  That 
after  twenty-five  days'  voyage  on  the  canal,  the  boat  stopping 
at  a  little  town,  he  went  ashore,  and  walked  about  to  look  at 
it,  and  buy  some  tobacco ;  and  in  returning  he  was  stopped, 
taken  up,  examined,  and  sent  away,  under  a  guard,  across 
the  country  to  a  mandarin,  distant  two  days'  journey. 
That  here  he  found  the  lingo  somewhat  different,  and  could 
not  so  well  make  himself  understood;  that  he  was  kept  a 
month  in  prison  before  the  mandarin  had  leisure  to  examine 
him.  That,  having  given  a  true  account  of  himself,  as  well 
as  he  could,  the  mandarin  set  him  at  liberty,  but  advised  him 
to  wait  the  departure  of  some  persons  for  Canton,  with  whom 
he  proposed  to  send  him  as  a  shipwrecked  stranger,  at  the 
emperor's  expense.  That  in  the  mean  time  he  worked  in  the 
mandarin's  garden,  and  conversed  with  the  common  people. 
He  does  not  recollect  the  name  of  the  province,  but  says  it 
was  one  of  the  tea  countries ;  and  that,  besides  the  true  tea, 
they  made  a  vast  deal  of  counterfeit  tea,  which  they  packed 
up  in  boxes,  some  mixed  with  good  tea,  but  mostly  unmixed, 
and  sent  it  away  to  different  sea-ports  for  the  supply  of  for- 
eign countries.  That  he  observed  they  made  ordinary  tea 
of  the  leaves  of  sweet  potatoes,  which  they  cut  into  form  by 
stamps,  and  had  the  art  of  giving  such  colour  and  taste  as  they 
judged  proper.  When  he  spoke  of  this  practice  as  a  fraud, 
they  said  there  was  no  harm  in  it,  for  strangers  liked  the  false 
tea  as  well,  or  better,  than  the  true ;  and  that  it  was  impossible 
to  load  with  true  tea  all  the  ships  that  came  for  it ;  China 
could  not  furnish  such  a  quantity ;  and,  if  the  demand  went 
on  increasing  as  it  had  done  some  years  past,  all  the  leaves 
of  all  the  trees  in  the  country  would  not  be  sufficient  to  answer 
it.  This  tea  was  sold  cheap,  as  he  understood  twenty  catty 


1784]  A   LETTER  FROM  CHINA  207 

of  it  (a  catty  is  near  our  pound)  for  about  an  ounce  of  silver. 
They  did  not  drink  it  themselves,  but  said  it  was  not  unwhole- 
some, if  drunk  moderately. 

That  after  some  time  he  set  out  in  the  train  of  seven  mer- 
chants for  Canton,  with  a  passport  from  the  mandarin,  going 
partly  by  land,  but  chiefly  by  water  in  canals.  That  they 
stopt  a  week  in  a  part  of  the  country  where  a  great  deal  of 
China  ware  is  made;  that  many  farmers  had  little  furnaces 
in  some  out-house,  where  they  worked  at  leisure  times,  and 
made,  some  nothing  but  tea-cups,  others  nothing  but  saucers, 
&c.,  which  they  sold  to  country  shopkeepers,  who  collected 
quantities  for  the  merchants.  The  ware  is  there  very  cheap. 
He  could  have  bought  a  dozen  pretty  cups  and  saucers  for 
as  much  silver  as  is  in  an  English  half-crown. 

He  says  it  is  not  true,  that  they  have  large  wheel  carriages 
in  China,  driven  by  the  wind ;  at  least  he  never  saw  or  heard 
of  any  such;  but  that  the  wheelbarrow  porters  indeed,  when 
passing  some  great  open  countries,  do  sometimes,  if  the  wind 
is  fair,  spread  a  thin  cotton  sail,  supported  by  a  light  bam- 
boo mast,  which  they  stick  up  on  their  wheelbarrows,  and  it 
helps  them  along.  That  he  once  saw  a  fleet  of  near  three 
hundred  sail  of  those  wheelbarrows,  each  with  a  double  wheel. 
That,  when  he  arrived  at  Canton,  he  did  not  make  himself 
known  to  the  English  there,  but  got  down  as  soon  as  he  could 
to  Macao,  hoping  to  meet  with  his  Portuguese  captain;  but 
he  had  never  returned.  That  he  worked  there  in  rigging  of 
vessels,  till  he  had  an  opportunity  of  coming  home  to  Europe ; 
and,  hearing  on  his  arrival  here,  from  an  old  comrade  in  the 
packet,  that  his  sweetheart  is  married,  and  that  the  Resolution 
and  Endeavour  got  home,  he  shall  decline  going  to  England 
yet  a  while,  fearing  he  may  be  punished  for  carrying  off  the 


208       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

boat ;  therefore  he  has  shipped  himself,  as  I  wrote  you  before, 
on  a  voyage  to  America.  He  was  between  three  and  four  years 
in  China.  This  is  the  substance  of  what  I  got  from  him, 
and  nearly  as  he  related  it.  He  gave  me  the  names  of  some 
places,  but  I  found  them  hard  to  remember,  and  cannot  recol- 
lect them. 


1502.    TO   SAMUEL   MATHER1          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  12,  1784. 
REVd  SIR, 

I  received  your  kind  letter,  with  your  excellent  advice  to 
the  people  of  the  United  States,  which  I  read  with  great  pleas- 
ure, and  hope  it  will  be  duly  regarded.  Such  writings,  though 
they  may  be  lightly  passed  over  by  many  readers,  yet,  if  they 
make  a  deep  impression  on  one  active  mind  in  a  hundred,  the 
effects  may  be  considerable.  Permit  me  to  mention  one  little 
instance,  which,  though  it  relates  to  myself,  will  not  be  quite 
uninteresting  to  you.  When  I  was  a  boy,  I  met  with  a  book, 
entitled  "Essays  to  do  Good"  which  I  think  was  written  by 
your  father.2  It  had  been  so  little  regarded  by  a  former 
possessor,  that  several  leaves  of  it  were  torn  out ;  but  the  re- 
mainder gave  me  such  a  turn  of  thinking,  as  to  have  an  influ- 
ence on  my  conduct  through  life;  for  I  have  always  set  a 
greater  value  on  the  character  of  a  doer  of  good,  than  on  any 
other  kind  of  reputation ;  and  if  I  have  been,  as  you  seem  to 
think,  a  useful  citizen,  the  public  owes  the  advantage  of  it  to 
that  book. 

1  Samuel  Mather  was  colleague  pastor  of  the  same  church  to  which  his 
father  and  grandfather  had  ministered.     He  died  June  27,  1785.— ED. 

2  Cotton  Mather.  —  ED. 


1 784]  TO  SAMUEL  MATHER  log 

You  mention  your  being  in  your  78th  year ;  I  am  in  my  79"" ; 
we  are  grown  old  together.  It  is  now  more  than  60  years  since 
I  left  Boston,  but  I  remember  well  both  your  father  and  grand- 
father, having  heard  them  both  in  the  pulpit,  and  seen  them 
in  their  houses.  The  last  time  I  saw  your  father  was  in  the 
beginning  of  1724,  when  I  visited  him  after  my  first  trip  to 
Pennsylvania.  He  received  me  in  his  library,  and  on  my 
taking  leave  showed  me  a  shorter  way  out  of  the  house  through 
a  narrow  passage,  which  was  crossed  by  a  beam  over  head. 
We  were  still  talking  as  I  withdrew,  he  accompanying  me  be- 
hind, and  I  turning  partly  towards  him,  when  he  said  hastily, 
"Stoop,  stoop!"  I  did  not  understand  him,  till  I  felt  my  head 
hit  against  the  beam.  He  was  a  man  that  never  missed  any 
occasion  of  giving  instruction,  and  upon  this  he  said  to  me, 
"  You  are  young,  and  have  the  world  be j ore  you;  STOOP  as  you 
go  through  it,  and  you  will  miss  many  hard  thumps."  This 
advice,  thus  beat  into  my  head,  has  frequently  been  of  use 
to  me;  and  I  often  think  of  it,  when  I  see  pride  mortified, 
and  misfortunes  brought  upon  people  by  their  carrying  their 
heads  too  high. 

I  long  much  to  see  again  my  native  place,  and  to  lay  my 
bones  there.  I  left  it  in  1723 ;  I  visited  it  in  1733,  1743,  1753, 
and  1763.  In  1773  I  was  in  England  ;  in  1775  I  had  a  sight 
of  it,  but  could  not  enter,  it  being  in  possession  of  the  enemy.1 
I  did  hope  to  have  been  there  in  1783,  but  could  not 
obtain  my  dismission  from  this  employment  here;  and 
now  I  fear  I  shall  never  have  that  happiness.  My  best 
wishes  however  attend  my  dear  country.  Esto  perpetua. 

1  In  October,  1775,  he  went  to  the  camp  at  Cambridge,  as  one  of  a  com- 
mittee from  Congress  to  consult  with  General  Washington  respecting  the 
affairs  of  the  army  then  besieging  Boston.  —  S. 
VOL.  ix  —  P 


210       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

It  is  now  blest  with  an  excellent  constitution;  may  it  last 
for  ever! 

This  powerful  monarchy  continues  its  friendship  for  the 
United  States.  It  is  a  friendship  of  the  utmost  importance 
to  our  security,  and  should  be  carefully  cultivated.  Britain 
has  not  yet  well  digested  the  loss  of  its  dominion  over  us,  and 
has  still  at  times  some  flattering  hopes  of  recovering  it.  Acci- 
dents may  increase  those  hopes,  and  encourage  dangerous 
attempts.  A  breach  between  us  and  France  would  infallibly 
bring  the  English  again  upon  our  backs ;  and  yet  we  have 
some  wild  heads  among  our  countrymen,  who  are  endeavour- 
ing to  weaken  that  connexion  !  Let  us  preserve  our  reputation 
by  performing  our  engagements ;  our  credit  by  fulfilling  our 
contracts;  and  friends  by  gratitude  and  kindness;  for  we 
know  not  how  soon  we  may  again  have  occasion  for  all  of 
them.  With  great  and  sincere  esteem,  I  have  the  honour  to 
be,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1503.    TO   THOMAS   MIFFLIN  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  12,  1784. 

SIR, 

In  my  last  I  acquainted  your  Excellency,  that  Mr.  Hartley 
was  soon  expected  here  to  exchange  Ratifications  of  the  defini- 
tive Treaty.  He  is  now  arriv'd,  and  proposes  to  make  the 
Exchange  this  Afternoon.  I  shall  then  be  enabled  to  send  a 
Copy.  Enclosed  is  the  new  British  Proclamation  respecting 
our  Trade  with  their  Colonies.  It  is  said  to  be  only  a  tem- 
porary Provision,  till  Parliament  can  assemble  and  make  some 
proper  regulating  Law,  or  till  a  commercial  Treaty  shall  be 
framed  and  agreed  to.  Mr.  Hartley  expects  Instructions 


1784]  TO  HENRY  LAURENS  211 

for  planning  with  us  such  a  Treaty.  The  Ministry  are  sup- 
pos'd  to  have  been  too  busy  with  the  new  Elections,  when  he 
left  London,  to  think  of  those  Matters. 

This  Court  has  not  compleated  its  intended  new  System 
for  the  Trade  of  their  Colonies,  so  that  I  cannot  yet  give  a 
certain  Account  of  the  Advantages,  that  will  in  fine  be  allow'd 
us.  At  present  it  is  said  we  are  to  have  two  Free  Ports,  To- 
bago and  the  Mole,  and  that  we  may  carry  Lumber  and  all 
sorts  of  Provisions  to  the  rest,  except  Flour,  which  is  reserv'd 
in  favour  of  Bordeaux,  and  that  we  shall  be  permitted  to  ex- 
port Coffee,  Rum,  Mollasses,  and  some  Sugar,  for  our  own 
Consumption. 

We  have  had  under  Consideration  a  commercial  Treaty 
propos'd  to  us  by  the  King  of  Prussia,  and  have  sent  it  back 
with  our  Remarks  to  Mr.  Adams,  who  will,  I  suppose,  trans- 
mit it  immediately  to  Congress.  Those  plann'd  with  Den- 
mark and  Portugal  wait  its  Determination. 

Be  pleased  to  present  my  dutiful  Respects  to  the  Congress, 
and  believe  me  to  be,  with  sincere  and  great  Esteem,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1504.     TO    HENRY    LAURENS  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  13,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  am  sorry  for  the  numerous  Disappointments  you  have 
lately  met  with.  The  World,  it's  true,  is  full  of  Disappoint- 
ments, but  they  are  not  equally  divided,  and  you  have  had 
more  than  your  Share. 

The  Ratifications  of  the  definitive  Treaty  are  now  ex- 
chang'd;  but  Mr.  Hartley  waits  for  Instructions  respecting 


212       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

a  Treaty  of  Commerce,  which,  from  what  you  observe,  may 
probably  never  arrive.  I  shall,  however,  be  glad  to  receive 
what  you  are  so  good  as  to  promise  me,  your  Thoughts  on  the 
Subject  of  such  a  Treaty. 

You  have  been  so  kind  as  to  offer  me  your  friendly  services 
in  America.  You  will  oblige  me  greatly  in  forwarding  my 
Dismission  from  this  employment,  for  I  long  much  to  be  at 
home;  and  if  you  should  think  my  Grandson  qualified  to 
serve  the  States  as  Secretary  to  my  Successor,  or  Charge 
d' Affaires,  till  a  Successor  arrives,  I  shall  thank  you  for  recom- 
mending him.  His  Knowledge  of  this  Court,  and  acquaint- 
ance with  the  Language,  and  the  Esteem  the  Minister  has 
for  him,  are  Circumstances  in  his  favor ;  his  long  Experience 
in  the  Business  here  is  another,  he  having  served  an  Appren- 
ticeship to  it  for  more  than  seven  Years.  His  Intelligence, 
Discretion,  and  Address,  you  can  judge  better  of  than  myself, 
who  may  be  partial.  His  Fidelity  and  Exactitude  in  perform- 
ing his  Duty,  I  can  answer  for. 

My  best  Wishes  attend  you,  your  very  valuable  Son,  and 
amiable  Daughter.  God  bless  you  all,  and  give  you  a  good 
Voyage,  and  a  happy  Meeting  with  your  Friends,  with  long 
Life,  Health,  and  Prosperity,  is  the  sincere  Prayer  of  your 
affectionate  humble  Servant,  -g  pRANKLIN 


1505.    TO    CHARLES   THOMSON1 

DEAR  SIR,  Pass^  Ma^  I3' I784' 

Yesterday  evening  Mr.  Hartley  met  with  Mr.  Jay  and  myself 
when  the  ratifications  of  the  Definitive  Treaty  were  exchanged. 
I  send  a  copy  of  the  English  Ratification  to  the  President. 

1  From  the  original  in  the  New  York  Historical  Society.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  CHARLES  THOMSON  213 

Thus  the  great  and  hazardous  enterprize  we  have  been 
engaged  in  is,  God  be  praised,  happily  compleated ;  an  event 
I  hardly  expected  I  should  live  to  see.  A  few  years  of  Peace, 
will  improve,  will  restore  and  encrease  our  strength ;  but  our 
future  safety  will  depend  on  our  union  and  our  virtue.  Brit- 
ain will  be  long  watching  for  advantages,  to  recover  what  she 
has  lost.  If  we  do  not  convince  the  world,  that  we  are  a 
Nation  to  be  depended  on  for  fidelity  in  Treaties ;  if  we  appear 
negligent  in  paying  our  Debts,  and  ungrateful  to  those  who 
have  served  and  befriended  us;  our  reputation,  and  all  the 
strength  it  is  capable  of  procuring,  will  be  lost,  and  fresh 
attacks  upon  us  will  be  encouraged  and  promoted  by  better 
prospects  of  success.  Let  us  therefore  beware  of  being  lulled 
into  a  dangerous  security ;  and  of  being  both  enervated  and 
impoverished  by  luxury ;  of  being  weakened  by  internal  con- 
tentions and  divisions;  of  being  shamefully  extravagant  in 
contracting  private  debts,  while  we  are  backward  in  dis- 
charging honorably  those  of  the  public ;  of  neglect  in  military 
exercises  and  discipline,  and  in  providing  stores  of  arms  and 
munitions  of  war,  to  be  ready  on  occasion ;  for  all  these  are 
circumstances  that  give  confidence  to  enemies,  and  diffidence 
to  friends;  and  the  expenses  required  to  prevent  a  war  are 
much  lighter  than  those  that  will,  if  not  prevented,  be  abso- 
lutely necessary  to  maintain  it. 

I  am  long  kept  in  suspense  without  being  able  to  learn  the 
purpose  of  Congress  respecting  my  request  of  recall,  and  that 
of  some  employment  for  my  secretary,  William  Temple 
Franklin.  If  I  am  kept  here  another  winter,  and  as  much 
weakened  by  it  as  by  the  last,  I  may  as  well  resolve  to  spend 
the  remainder  of  my  days  here;  for  I  shall  be  hardly  able 
to  bear  the  fatigues  of  the  voyage  in  returning.  During  my 


214       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

long  absence  from  America,  my  friends  are  continually 
diminishing  by  death,  and  my  inducements  to  return  in  pro- 
portion. But  I  can  make  no  preparations  either  for  going 
conveniently,  or  staying  comfortably  here,  nor  take  any  steps 
towards  making  some  other  provision  for  my  grandson,  till  I 
know  what  I  am  to  expect.  Be  so  good,  my  dear  friend,  as  to 
send  me  a  little  private  information.  With  great  esteem,  I 

am  ever  yours,  most  affectionately 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1506.    TO    MR.   AND    MRS.    JAY       (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  13,  1784. 
MY  DEAR  FRIENDS, 

I  find  I  shall  not  be  able  to  see  you  again  as  I  intended. 
My  best  Wishes,  however,  go  with  you,  that  you  may  have 
a  prosperous  Voyage  and  a  happy  sight  of  your  Friends  and 
Families. 

Mr.  Jay  was  so  kind  as  to  offer  his  Friendly  Services  to  me 
in  America.  He  will  oblige  me  much  by  endeavouring  to 
forward  my  Discharge  from  this  Employment.  Repose  is 
now  my  only  Ambition.  If  too,  he  should  think  with  me, 
that  my  Grandson  is  qualified  to  serve  the  States  as  Secretary 
to  a  future  Minister  at  this  Court,  or  as  Chargi  d' Affaires, 
and  will  be  kind  enough  to  recommend  such  an  Appointment, 
it  will  exceedingly  oblige  me.  I  have  twice  mentioned  this 
in  my  letter  to  Congress,  but  have  not  been  favored  with  any 
answer;  which  is  hard,  because  the  suspense  prevents  my 
endeavouring  to  promote  him  in  some  other  way.  I  would 
not,  however,  be  importunate;  and  therefore,  if  Mr.  Jay 
should  use  his  Interest  without  Effect,  I  will  trouble  them  no 


1784]  METEOROLOGICAL   CONJECTURES  215 

more  on  the  subject.  My  Grandson's  acquaintance  with 
the  Language,  with  the  Court  and  Customs  here,  and  the 
particular  Regard  M.  de  Vergennes  has  for  him,  are  Cir- 
cumstances in  his  favour. 

God    bless   and    protect   you    both.     Embrace  my  little 
Friend  for  me,  and  believe  me  ever  yours,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1507.    TO   COMTE   DE   VERGENNES     (p.  A.  E.  E.  u.) 

Passy,  May  31.  1784. 

SOME  inconveniences  are  said  to  have  arisen  from  a  want 
of  certainty  in  the  power  of  our  consuls.  The  articles  re- 
specting that  matter  have  been  some  time  prepared  and  agreed 
to  between  M.  de  Rayneval  and  me.  If  there  is  no  change 
of  sentiment  respecting  them,  I  beg  leave  to  request  your 
Excellency  would  direct  such  steps  to  be  taken  as  may  be 
proper  for  compelling  them.  I  am  ready  on  the  part  of  the 
United  States  to  sign  them  at  any  time.  With  great  respect, 
I  am  sir,  etc.,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1508.    METEOROLOGICAL    IMAGINATIONS   AND 
CONJECTURES1  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May,  1784. 

THERE  seems  to  be  a  Region  high  in  the  Air  over  all  Coun- 
tries, where  it  is  always  Winter,  where  Frost  exists  continu- 

1  First  printed  in  the  "  Memoirs  of  the  Literary  and  Philosophical  Society 
of  Manchester,"  Vol.  II,  p.  357.  It  was  communicated  to  the  Society  by  Dr. 
Percival,  and  read  December  22,  1784.  —  ED. 


216       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

ally,  since  in  the  midst  of  Summer,  on  the  Surface  of  the  Earth, 
Ice  falls  often  from  above,  in  the  Form  of  Hail. 

Hailstones,  of  the  great  Weight  we  sometimes  find  them, 
did  not  pfobably  acquire  their  Magnitude  before  they  began 
to  descend.  The  Air,  being  800  times  rarer  than  Water,  is 
unable  to  support  it  but  in  the  Shape  of  Vapour,  a  State  in 
which  its  Particles  are  separated.  As  soon  as  they  are  con- 
densed by  the  Cold  of  the  upper  Regions,  so  as  to  form  a 
Drop,  that  Drop  begins  to  fall.  If  it  freezes  into  a  Grain  of 
Ice,  that  Ice  descends.  In  descending,  both  the  Drop  of 
Water  and  the  Grain  of  Ice  are  augmented  by  Particles  of  the 
Vapour  they  pass  thro'  in  falling,  and  which  they  condense 
by  their  Coldness,  and  attach  to  themselves. 

It  is  possible  that,  in  Summer,  much  of  what  is  Rain  when 
it  arrives  at  the  Surface  of  the  Earth,  might  have  been  Snow 
when  it  began  its  Descent ;  but,  being  thaw'd  in  passing  thro* 
the  warm  Air  near  the  Surface,  it  is  changed  from  Snow  into 
Rain. 

How  immensely  cold  must  be  the  original  Particle  of  Hail, 
which  forms  the  Centre  of  the  future  Hailstone,  since  it  is 
capable  of  communicating  sufficient  Cold,  if  I  may  so  speak, 
because  perhaps  it  is  not  by  communicating  Cold  to  the  Par- 
ticles of  Vapour  that  it  freezes  them  but  by  depriving  them  of 
their  Heat,  to  freeze  all  the  Mass  of  Vapour  condensed  round 
it,  and  form  a  Lump  of  perhaps  6  or  8  ounces  in  weight  1 

When,  in  Summer  time,  the  Sun  is  high,  and  long  every 
Day  above  the  Horizon,  his  Rays  strike  the  Earth  more  di- 
rectly, and  with  longer  Continuance,  than  in  Winter;  hence 
the  Surface  is  more  heated,  and  to  a  greater  Depth,  by  the 
Effect  of  those  Rays. 

When  Rain  falls  on  the  heated  Earth,  and  soaks  down  into 


1784]  METEOROLOGICAL   CONJECTURES  217 

it,  it  carries  down  with  it  a  great  part  of  the  Heat,  which  by 
that  means  descends  still  deeper. 

The  Mass  of  Earth,  to  the  depth  perhaps  of  30  Feet,  being 
thus  heated  to  a  certain  Degree,  continues  to  retain  its  Heat 
for  some  time.  Thus  the  first  Snows,  that  fall  in  the  Begin- 
ning of  Winter,  seldom  lie  long  on  the  Surface,  but  are  soon 
melted,  and  soon  absorbed.  After  which,  the  Winds,  that 
blow  over  the  Country  on  which  the  Snows  had  fallen,  are  not 
rend'red  so  cold  as  they  would  have  been,  by  those  Snows, 
if  they  had  remained.  The  Earth,  too,  thus  uncovered  by  the 
Snows,  which  would  have  reflected  the  Sun's  Rays,  now 
absorbs  them,  receiving  and  retaining  the  Warmth  they  afford 
and  thus  the  Approach  of  the  Severity  of  Winter  is  retarded ; 
and  the  extreme  degree  of  its  Cold  is  not  always  at  the  time 
we  might  expect  it,  viz.  when  the  Sun  is  at  its  greatest  Distance, 
and  the  Days  shortest,  but  some  time  after  that  Period,  accord- 
ing to  the  English  Proverb,  which  says,  "  As  the  Day  length- 
ens, the  Cold  strengthens;"  the  Causes  of  refrigeration  con- 
tinuing to  operate,  while  the  Sun  returns  too  slowly,  and  his 
Force  continues  too  weak,  to  counteract  them. 

During  several  of  the  Summer  Months  of  the  Year  1783, 
when  the  Effect  of  the  Sun's  Rays  to  heat  the  Earth  in  these 
northern  Regions  should  have  been  greatest,  there  existed 
a  constant  Fog  over  all  Europe.  This  Fog  was  of  a  permanent 
Nature ;  it  was  dry,  and  the  Rays  of  the  Sun  seem'd  to  have 
little  Effect  towards  dissipating  it,  as  they  easily  do  a  moist 
Fog,  arising  from  Water.  They  were  indeed  rend'red  so  faint 
in  passing  thro'  it,  that,  when  collected  in  the  Focus  of  a 
Burning- Glass,  they  would  scarce  kindle  brown  Paper.  Of 
course,  their  Summer  Effect  in  heating  the  Earth  was  exceed- 
ingly diminished. 


218       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

Hence  the  Surface  was  early  frozen. 

Hence  the  first  Snows  remained  on  it  unmelted,  and  re- 
ceived continual  Additions. 

Hence  the  Air  was  more  chilled  and  the  Winds  more  se- 
verely cold.  Hence  perhaps  the  Winter  of  1783-4,  was  more 
severe  than  any  that  had  happened  for  many  years. 

The  Cause  of  this  Universal  Fog  is  not  yet  ascertained. 
Whether  it  was  adventitious  to  this  Earth,  and  merely  a 
Smoke  proceeding  from  the  Consumption  by  Fire  of  some  of 
those  great  burning  Balls  or  Globes  which  we  happen  to 
meet  with  in  our  rapid  Course  round  the  Sun,  and  which  are 
sometimes  seen  to  kindle  and  be  destroy'd  in  passing  our 
Atmosphere,  and  whose  Smoke  might  be  attracted  and  re- 
tain'd  by  our  Earth:  or  whether  it  was  the  vast  Quantity 
of  Smoke,  long  continuing  to  issue  during  the  Summer  from 
Hecla,  in  Iceland,  and  that  other  Volcano  which  arose  out  of 
the  Sea  near  that  Island,  which  Smoke  might  be  spread  by 
various  Winds,  over  the  northern  Part  of  the  World,  is  yet 
uncertain. 

It  seems  however  worth  the  Enquiry,  whether  other  hard 
Winters,  recorded  in  History,  were  preceded  by  similar  per- 
manent and  widely  extended  Summer  Fogs.  Because,  if 
found  to  be  so,  Men  might  from  such  Fogs  conjecture  the 
Probability  of  a  succeeding  hard  Winter,  and  of  the  damages 
to  be  expected  by  the  breaking  up  of  frozen  Rivers  at  the  Ap- 
proach of  Spring;  and  take  such  Measures  as  are  possible 
and  practicable,  to  secure  themselves  and  Effects  from  the 
Mischiefs  that  attended  the  last. 


1784]  TO  DAVID  HARTLEY  219 

1509.    TO    DAVID   HARTLEY1  (P.  c.) 

Passy,  June  2,  1784. 

SIR, 

I  have  considered  the  Observations  you  did  me  the  honour 
of  communicating  to  me,  concerning  certain  Inaccuracies 
of  Expression,  and  suppos'd  Defects  of  Formality  in  the  In- 
strument of  Ratification,  some  of  which  are  said  to  be  of 
such  a  Nature  as  to  affect  "  the  Validity  of  the  Instrument." 

The  first  is,  "that  the  United  States  are  named  before  his 
Majesty,  contrary  to  the  established  Custom  observed  in  every 
Treaty  in  which  a  Crowned  Head  and  a  Republic  are  the  con- 
tracting Parties."  With  respect  to  this,  it  seems  to  me  we 
should  distinguish  between  that  Act  in  which  both  join,  to 
wit,  the  Treaty,  and  that  which  is  the  Act  of  each  separately, 
the  Ratification.  It  is  necessary  that  all  the  Modes  of  Ex- 
pression in  the  joint  Act  should  be  agreed  to  by  both  Parties, 
tho'  in  their  separate  Acts  each  Party  is  Master  of,  and  alone 
accountable  for  its  own  mode.  And  on  inspecting  the  Treaty, 
it  will  be  found  that  his  Majesty  is  always  regularly  named 
before  the  United  States.  Thus  "the  established  Custom 
in  Treaties  between  Crowned  Heads  and  Republics,"  con- 
tended for  on  your  Part,  is  strictly  observed  :  And  the  ratifica- 
tion following  the  treaty  contains  these  Words.  "Now 
know  ye,  that  we,  the  United  States  in  Congress  assembled, 
having  seen  and  considered  the  Definitive  Articles  aforesaid, 
have  approved,  ratified,  and  confirmed,  and  by  these  Presents 
do  approve,  ratify,  and  confirm  the  said  Articles,  AND  EVERY 

1  From  a  secretary's  copy  in  the  collection  of  Mrs.  L.  Z.  Leiter.  The  date 
in  this  copy  appears  to  have  been  altered  from  June  2  to  June  8.  —  ED. 


220        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

PART  AND  CLAUSE  THEREOF,"  &c.  Hereby  all  those  Articles, 
Parts,  and  Clauses,  wherein  the  King  is  named  before  the 
United  States,  are  approved,  ratified,  and  confirmed,  and  this 
solemnly,  under  the  Signature  of  the  President  of  Congress, 
with  the  public  Seal  affixed  by  their  Order,  and  counter- 
signed by  their  Secretary. 

No  Declaration  on  this  Subject  more  determinate  or  more 
authentic  can  possibly  be  made  or  given,  which,  when  con- 
sidered, may  probably  induce  his  Majesty's  Ministers  to  waive 
the  Proposition  of  our  signing  a  similar  Declaration,  or  of 
sending  back  the  Ratification  to  be  corrected  in  this  Point, 
neither  appearing  to  be  really  necessary.  I  will,  however, 
if  it  be  still  desired,  transmit  to  Congress  the  Observation, 
and  the  Difficulty  occasioned  by  it,  and  request  their  Orders 
upon  it.  In  the  mean  time  I  may  venture  to  say,  that  I  am 
confident  there  was  no  intention  of  affronting  his  Majesty 
by  this  Order  of  Nomination,  but  that  it  resulted  merely  from 
that  Sort  of  Complaisance,  which  every  Nation  seems  to  have 
for  itself,  and  of  that  Respect  for  its  own  Government,  cus- 
tomarily so  expressed  in  its  own  Acts,  of  which  the  English 
among  the  rest  afford  an  Instance,  when  in  the  Title  of  the 
King  they  always  name  Great  Britain  before  France. 

The  second  Objection  is,  "  that  the  Term  Definitive  Articles 
is  used  instead  of  Definitive  Treaty"  If  the  words  Defini- 
tive Treaty  had  been  used  in  the  Ratification  instead  of 
Definitive  Articles,  it  might  have  been  more  correct,  tho'  the 
Difference  seems  not  great,  nor  of  much  Importance,  as  in  the 
Treaty  itself  it  is  called  "the  present  Definitive  Treaty." 

The  other  Objections  are,  "that  the  Conclusion  likewise 
appears  deficient,  as  it  is  neither  signed  by  the  President,  nor 
is  it  dated,  and  consequently  is  wanting  in  some  of  the  most 


1784]  TO  CONDE  DE  CAMPOMANES  221 

essential  Points  of  Form  necessary  towards  authenticating  the 
Validity  of  the  Instrument."  The  Situation  of  Seals  and  Sig- 
natures, in  public  Instruments  differs  in  different  Countries, 
tho'  all  equally  valid ;  for,  when  all  the  Parts  of  an  Instrument 
are  connected  by  a  Ribband,  whose  Ends  are  secured  under 
the  Impression  of  the  Seal,  the  Signature  and  Seal,  wherever 
plac'd,  are  understood  as  relating  to  and  authenticating  the 
whole.  Our  usage  is  to  place  them  both  together  in  the  broad 
Margin  near  the  Beginning  of  the  Piece ;  and  so  they  stand  in 
the  present  Ratification,  the  concluding  Words  of  which  de- 
clare the  Intention  of  such  Signing  and  Sealing  to  be  giving 
authenticity  to  the  whole  Instrument,  viz.  "In  Testimony 
whereof,  We  have  caused  the  Seal  of  the  United  States  to  be 
hereunto  affixed;  Witness  his  Excellency  Thomas  Mifflin, 
Esqr,  President;"  and  the  Date  supposed  to  be  omitted, 
(perhaps  from  its  not  appearing  in  Figures)  is  nevertheless 
to  be  found  written  in  Words  at  length,  viz.  "  this  fourteenth 
Day  of  January,  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  seven 
hundred  and  eighty-four,"  which  made  the  Figures  unneces- 
sary. With  great  Esteem  and  Respect,  I  have  the  honour  to 

be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1510.     TO    CONDE    DE   CAMPOMANES     (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  June  5,  1784. 

SIR, 

I  have  received  much  Instruction  and  Pleasure  in  reading 
your  excellent  Writings.  I  wish  it  were  in  my  Power  to 
make  you  a  suitable  Return  of  the  same  kind.  I  embrace  the 
Opportunity,  my  much  esteemed  Friend  Mr.  Carmichael 


222        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

affords  me,  of  sending  you  a  late  Collection  of  some  of  my 
occasional  Pieces,  of  which,  if  I  should  live  to  get  home,  I 
hope  to  publish  another  Edition  much  larger,  more  correct, 
and  less  unworthy  of  your  Acceptance. 

You  are  engaged  in  a  great  Work,  reforming  the  ancient 
Habitudes,  removing  the  Prejudices,  and  promoting  the  In- 
dustry of  your  Nation.  You  have  in  the  Spanish  People  good 
Stuff  to  work  upon,  and  by  a  steady  Perseverance  you  will 
obtain  perhaps  a  Success  beyond  your  Expectation ;  for  it  is 
incredible  the  quantity  of  Good  that  may  be  done  in  a  Coun- 
try by  a  single  Man,  who  will  make  a  Business  of  it,  and  not 
suffer  himself  to  be  diverted  from  that  Purpose  by  different 
Avocations,  Studies,  or  Amusements. 

There  are  two  Opinions  prevalent  in  Europe,  which  have 
mischievous  Effects  in  diminishing  national  Felicity ;  the  one, 
That  useful  Labour  is  dishonourable ;  the  other,  that  Fami- 
lies may  be  perpetuated  with  Estates.  In  America  we  have 
neither  of  these  Prejudices,  which  is  a  great  Advantage  to  us. 
You  will  see  our  Ideas  respecting  the  first,  in  a  little  Piece  I 
send  you,  called  Information  to  those  who  would  remove  to 
America.  The  second  is  mathematically  demonstrable  to  be 
an  Impossibility  under  the  present  Rules  of  Law  and  Religion. 
Since  tho'  the  Estate  may  remain  entire,  the  Family  is  con- 
tinually dividing.  For  a  man's  Son  is  but  half  of  his  Family, 
his  Grandson  but  a  Fourth,  his  Great  Grandson  but  an  Eighth, 
the  next  but  a  Sixteenth  of  his  Family ;  and,  by  the  same  Pro- 
gression, in  only  nine  Generations  the  present  Proprietor's 
Part  hi  the  then  Possessor  of  the  Estate  will  be  but  a  51 2th, 
supposing  the  Fidelity  of  all  the  succeeding  Wives  equally 
certain  with  that  of  those  now  existing :  Too  small  a  Portion, 
methinks,  to  be  anxious  about,  so  as  to  oppose  a  legal  Liberty 


1784]  TO   CONDE  DE  CAMPOMANES  223 

of  breaking  Entails  and  dividing  Estates,  which  would  con- 
tribute so  much  to  the  Prosperity  of  the  Country.  With 
great  and  sincere  Esteem  and  Respect,  and  best  Wishes  for 
the  Success  of  your  patriotic  Undertaking,  I  have  the  honour 
to  be,  Sir,  &c.  B.  FRANKLIN/ 

1To  this  letter  Campomanes  replied,  July  26,  1784  (A.  P.  S.)  :  — 

"I  have  received,  by  the  hands  of  my  friend  Mr.  Carmichael,  your  estimable 
letter  of  the  5th  of  June,  the  collection  of  your  miscellaneous  writings,  and  the 
piece  entitled,  Information  to  those  who  would  remove  to  America,  All  these 
writings  exhibit  proofs  of  their  having  proceeded  from  a  statesman,  endowed 
with  foresight,  and  vigilant  for  the  best  interests  of  his  country,  according  to 
the  political  combinations  and  systems  of  government  under  which  they  were 
composed  ;  and  they  manifest,  at  the  same  time,  an  ardent  desire  for  the  gen- 
eral happiness  of  mankind,  founded  on  principles  and  calculations  carried  to 
as  high  a  degree  of  demonstration,  as  the  vicissitude  and  inconsistency  of 
the  various  systems  adopted  for  the  government  of  men  will  admit.  .  .  . 

"  The  frankness,  with  which  you  dissuade  people  in  Europe  from  emigrating 
inconsiderately  to  America,  is  a  proof  of  your  general  philanthropy,  and  of  a 
candor  peculiar  to  a  good  man,  true  philosopher,  and  genuine  patriot.  You 
extend  this  same  benevolence  to  Spain,  in  your  remarks  respecting  the  honour 
that  is  due  to  labour,  and  against  the  entailment  of  estates.  The  former  is 
now  confirmed  among  us  by  a  recent  law,  a  copy  of  which  I  send  herewith,  de- 
claring the  honourable  light  in  which  every  description  of  artisans  should  be 
regarded.  Labourers  were  always  honoured  and  favoured  by  our  laws.  As 
to  what  regards  entailments,  I  refer  you  to  what  I  wrote  in  the  year  1765,  at 
the  end  of  my  treatise  upon  Mortmain,  in  which  I  think  I  have  demonstrated, 
that  another  regulation  ought  to  precede  this  in  the  progress  of  legislation.  I 
add  also,  that  there  is  some  diversity  of  circumstances  between  a  monarchical 
and  democratical  constitution  in  this  respect. 

"  I  should  have  great  pleasure  in  extending  these  reflections,  if  time  would 
permit,  although  your  penetration  and  sagacity  would  render  them  unnecessary. 
The  honour  conferred  upon  me  by  The  American  Philosophical  Society,  in 
electing  me  a  member  on  the  i6th  of  January,  lays  me  under  the  pleasing 
obligation  of  expressing  my  gratitude  through  you,  the  worthy  President  of 
the  Society.  Desirous  of  reciprocating  in  some  manner  this  act  of  courtesy,  I 
proposed  you  as  an  honourary  member  of  the  Royal  Academy  of  History,  of 
which  I  am  President.  The  proposal  was  responded  to  by  universal  acclama- 
tion ;  the  Academy  feeling  in  the  highest  degree  honoured  by  having  on  its 
list  the  name  of  a  man  so  eminent  in  the  world  of  letters,  and  so  distinguished 
for  the  part  he  has  acted  in  a  Revolution,  the  most  memorable  in  the  history 
of  modern  times."  —  ED. 


224        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 
1511.    TO   CHARLES  THOMSON1 

Passy,  June  14,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR 

I  received  yours  of  April  ipth,2  with  the  information  you 
obtained  from  our  old  neighbour,  Reuben  Haines,  respecting 
Marggrander,3  for  which  I  thank  you.  I  am  much  pestered 
with  applications  to  make  such  enquiries,  and  often  obliged 
to  promise  that  I  will  transmit  them ;  but  I  would  not  wish  you 
to  take  more  trouble,  than  to  ask  questions  of  the  members 
of  Congress,  or  others  that  fall  in  your  way,  and  communi- 
cate to  me  their  answers,  if  of  any  importance.  I  have  also 
a  multitude  of  projects  sent  to  me,  with  requests  that  I  would 
lay  them  before  Congress.  They  are  plans  and  schemes  of 
Government  and  Legislation,  Education,  Defence,  Manu- 
factures, Commerce,  &c.,  form'd  by  people  who  have  great 
good  will  to  us,  but  are  totally  ignorant  of  our  affairs  and 
circumstances;  whence  their  projects  are  for  the  most  part 
wild  and  impracticable,  or  unfit  to  be  presented  to  Congress, 
as  not  pertaining  to  their  jurisdiction.  I  have  therefore 
not  forwarded  them;  but  will  now  and  then  send  some  of 
them  for  your  amusement,  if  you  should  ever  have  any  leisure, 
that  you  may  see  how  people  make  shoes  for  feet  they  have 
never  measured. 

As  your  letter  mentions  nothing  of  publick  affairs,  I 
imagined  I  might  have  had,  by  the  same  conveyance,  some 

1  From  the  original  in  New  York  Historical  Society.  —  ED. 

2  In  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 

8  Adam  Marggrander  was  employed  by  Reuben  Haines  as  a  brewer  and 
cooper.  He  enlisted  as  a  substitute  in  the  militia  and  marched  into  Northum- 
berland County.  Nothing  further  was  known  of  him.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO   THOMAS  MIFFLIN  225 

dispatches  from  Congress,  perhaps  in  the  care  of  some  pas- 
senger ;  but  a  fortnight  has  past  since  the  arrival  of  the  packet- 
boat,  and  no  Letters  appear;  so  that  I  have  nothing  from 
Congress  later  than  the  14  of  January,  and  continue  in  great 
uncertainty  as  to  my  return. 

Mr.  Norris  l  came  here,  after  residing  some  time  at  Liege. 
He  staid  but  a  week  or  two  at  Paris,  and  then  removed  to 
a  country  town  not  far  distant,  where  nothing  but  French  is 
spoken,  in  order  to  improve  himself  in  that  language.  He 
seems  a  sensible,  discreet  young  man,  and  I  should  with  pleas- 
ure render  him  any  service  that  may  be  in  my  power. 

The  King  of  Sweden  is  now  at  this  court,  enjoying  the 
various  splendid  entertainments  provided  for  him.  The 
Danish  Minister  is  astonished,  that  the  Congress  are  so  long 
without  taking  any  notice  of  the  proposed  Treaty.  With 
great  esteem,  I  am  ever,  my  Dear  Friend,  yours  most 

affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1512.    TO  THOMAS   MIFFLIN  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  June  16,  1784. 

SIR, 

My  Letter  by  Mr.  Jay  acquainted  your  Excellency,  that  the 
Ratifications  of  the  Definitive  Treaty  were  exchanged.  A 
Copy  of  the  British  part  was  also  sent  by  him. 

Mr.  Hartley  remained  here  expecting  Instructions  to  treat 
with  us  on  the  Subject  of  Commerce.  The  Bustle  attending 
a  new  Election  and  Meeting  of  Parliament,  he  imagined 
might  occasion  the  long  Delay  of  those  Instructions.  He 

1  Son  of  Isaac  Norris,  Speaker  of  the  Pennsylvania  Assembly.  —  ED. 
VOL.  IX  —  Q 


226       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    ^784 

now  thinks,  that,  the  Affair  of  American  Trade  being  under 
the  Consideration  of  Parliament,  it  is  probable  no  Treaty 
will  be  propos'd  till  the  Result  is  known.  Mr.  Jay,  who 
saiFd  for  America  the  ist  Inst.  from  Dover,  and  who  saw  there 
several  of  our  Friends  from  London  before  his  Departure, 
and  Mr.  Laurens  who  left  London  the  6th  to  go  in  the  Fal- 
mouth  Packet,  will  be  able  to  give  you  more  perfect  Informa- 
tions than  I  can,  of  what  may  be  expected  as  the  Deter- 
mination of  the  British  government  respecting  our  Intercourse 
with  their  Islands;  and,  therefore,  I  omit  my  Conjectures, 
only  mentioning,  that  from  various  Circumstances  there  seems 
to  be  some  lurking  Remains  of  ill  Humour  there,  and  of  Re- 
sentment against  us,  which  only  wants  a  favourable  Oppor- 
tunity to  manifest  itself. 

This  makes  it  more  necessary  for  us  to  be  upon  our  guard 
and  prepared  for  Events,  that  a  Change  in  the  Affairs  of 
Europe  may  produce;  its  Tranquility  depending,  perhaps, 
on  the  Life  of  one  Man,  and  it  being  impossible  to  foresee  in 
what  Situation  a  new  Arrangement  of  its  various  Interests 
may  place  us.  Ours  will  be  respected  in  proportion  to  the 
apparent  Solidity  of  our  Government,  the  Support  of  our 
Credit,  the  Maintenance  of  a  good  Understanding  with  our 
Friends,  and  our  Readiness  for  Defence.  All  which  I  per- 
suade myself  will  be  taken  care  of. 

Inclose  I  send  a  Copy  of  a  Letter  from  Mr.  Hartley  to  me, 
respecting  some  suppos'd  Defects  in  the  Ratification,  together 
with  my  Answer,  which  he  has  transmitted  to  London.  The 
Objections  appeared  to  me  trivial  and  absurd ;  but  I  thought 
it  prudent  to  treat  them  with  as  much  Decency  as  I  could, 
lest  the  ill  Temper  should  be  augmented,  which  might  be 
particularly  inconvenient,  while  the  Commerce  was  under 


1784]          THOUGHTS  ON  A   UNIVERSAL  FLUID  2*27 

Consideration.  There  has  not  yet  been  time  for  Mr.  Hartley 
to  hear  whether  my  Answer  has  been  satisfactory,  or  whether 
the  Ministers  will  still  insist  on  my  sending  for  an  amended 
Copy  from  America,  as  they  proposed. 

I  do  not  perceive  the  least  Diminution  in  the  good  Disposi- 
tion of  this  Court  towards  us,  and  I  hope  care  will  be  taken 
to  preserve  it. 

The  Marquis  de  la  Fayette,  who  will  have  the  honour  of 
delivering  this  to  you,  has,  ever  since  his  Arrival  in  Europe, 
been  very  industrious  in  his  Endeavours  to  serve  us,  and  pro- 
mote our  Interests,  and  has  been  of  great  Use  on  several 
Occasions.  I  should  wish  the  Congress  might  think  fit  to- 
express  in  some  proper  Manner  their  Sense  of  his  Merit. 

My  Malady  prevents  my  going  to  Versailles,  as  I  cannot 
bear  a  Carriage  upon  Pavement;  but  my  Grandson  goes 
regularly  on  Court  days  to  supply  my  Place,  and  is  well  re- 
ceiv'd  there.  The  last  Letters  I  have  had  the  honour  of  receiv- 
ing from  you,  are  of  the  i4th  of  January.  With  great  Respect, 

I  am,  Sir,   &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1513.    LOOSE   THOUGHTS   ON   A   UNIVERSAL 
FLUID  l  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  June  25,  1784. 

UNIVERSAL  SPACE,  as  far  as  we  know  of  it,  seems  to  be 
filled  with  a  subtil  Fluid,  whose  Motion,  or  Vibration,  is 
called  Light. 

1  From  an  auto,  draft  in  L.  C.  endorsed  by  Franklin,  "  For  the  Consideration 
of  my  dear  Friend,  David  Rittenhouse,  Esq' "  There  is  also  in  L.  C.  a  contem- 
porary copy  in  French.  The  paper  was  read  before  The  American  Philo- 
sophical Society,  June  20,  1788.  —  ED. 


228        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

This  Fluid  may  possibly  be  the  same  with  that,  which, 
being  attracted  by,  and  entring  into  other  more  solid  Mat- 
ter, dilates  the  Substance,  by  separating  the  constituent  Par- 
ticles, and  so  rendering  some  Solids  fluid,  and  maintaining 
the  Fluidity  of  others;  of  which  Fluid  when  our  Bodies  are 
totally  deprived,  they  are  said  to  be  frozen ;  when  they  have 
a  proper  Quantity,  they  are  in  Health,  and  fit  to  perform  all 
their  Functions;  it  is  then  called  natural  Heat;  when  too 
much,  it  is  called  Fever;  and,  when  forced  into  the  Body  in 
too  great  a  Quantity  from  without,  it  gives  Pain  by  separating 
and  destroying  the  Flesh,  and  is  then  called  Burning;  and 
the  Fluid  so  entring  and  acting  is  called  Fire. 

While  organized  Bodies,  animal  or  vegetable,  are  aug- 
menting in  Growth,  or  are  supplying  their  continual  Waste, 
is  not  this  done  by  attracting  and  consolidating  this  Fluid 
called  Fire,  so  as  to  form  of  it  a  Part  of  their  Substance ;  and 
is  it  not  a  Separation  of  the  Parts  of  such  Substance,  which, 
dissolving  its  solid  State,  sets  that  subtil  Fluid  at  Liberty, 
when  it  again  makes  its  appearance  as  Fire? 

For  the  Power  of  Man  relative  to  Matter  seems  limited 
to  the  dividing  it,  or  mixing  the  various  kinds  of  it,  or  changing 
its  Form  and  Appearance  by  different  Compositions  of  it; 
but  does  not  extend  to  the  making  or  creating  of  new  Matter, 
or  annihilating  the  old.  Thus,  if  Fire  be  an  original  Element, 
or  kind  of  Matter,  its  Quantity  is  fixed  and  permanent  in 
the  Universe.  We  cannot  destroy  any  Part  of  it,  or  make 
addition  to  it;  we  can  only  separate  it  from  that  which 
confines  it,  and  so  set  it  at  Liberty,  as  when  we  put  Wood  in  a 
Situation  to  be  burnt ;  or  transfer  it  from  one  Solid  to  another, 
as  when  we  make  Lime  by  burning  Stone,  a  Part  of  the  Fire 
dislodg'd  from  the  Wood  being  left  in  the  Stone.  May  not 


1784]          THOUGHTS  ON  A    UNIVERSAL  FLUID  229 

this  Fluid,  when  at  Liberty,  be  capable  of  penetrating  and 
entring  into  all  Bodies  organiz'd  or  not,  quitting  easily  in 
totality  those  not  organiz'd ;  and  quitting  easily  in  part  those 
which  are ;  the  part  assum'd  and  fix'd  remaining  till  the  Body 
is  dissolved? 

Is  it  not  this  Fluid  which  keeps  asunder  the  Particles  of 
Air,  permitting  them  to  approach,  or  separating  them  more, 
in  proportion  as  its  Quantity  is  diminish'd  or  augmented? 
Is  it  not  the  greater  Gravity  of  the  Particles  of  Air,  which 
forces  the  Particles  of  this  Fluid  to  mount  with  the  Matters 
to  which  it  is  attached,  as  Smoke  or  Vapour? 

Does  it  not  seem  to  have  a  great  Affinity  with  Water,  since 
it  will  quit  a  Solid  to  unite  with  that  Fluid,  and  go  off  with  it 
in  Vapour,  leaving  the  Solid  cold  to  the  Touch,  and  the  Degree 
measurable  by  the  Thermometer? 

The  Vapour  rises  attach'd  to  this  Fluid,  but  at  a  certain 
height  they  separate,  and  the  Vapour  descends  in  Rain, 
retaining  but  little  of  it,  in  Snow  or  Hail  less.  What  be- 
comes of  that  Fluid?  Does  it  rise  above  our  Atmosphere, 
and  mix  with  the  universal  Mass  of  the  same  kind?  Or 
does  a  spherical  Stratum  of  it,  denser,  or  less  mix'd  with 
Air,  attracted  by  this  Globe,  and  repelPd  or  push'd  up  only 
to  a  certain  height  from  its  Surface,  by  the  greater  Weight 
of  Air,  remain  there,  surrounding  the  Globe,  and  proceeding 
with  it  round  the  Sun  ? 

In  such  case,  as  there  may  be  a  Continuity  or  Communi- 
cation of  this  Fluid  thro'  the  Air  quite  down  to  the  Earth, 
is  it  not  by  the  Vibrations  given  to  it  by  the  Sun  that  Light 
appears  to  us;  and  may  it  not  be,  that  every  one  of  the  in- 
finitely small  Vibrations,  striking  common  Matter  with  a 
certain  Force,  enters  its  Substance,  is  held  there  by  Attraction, 


^30       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

and  augmented  by  succeeding  Vibrations,  till  the  Matter  has 
receiv'd  as  much  as  their  Force  can  drive  into  it? 

Is  it  not  thus,  that  the  Surface  of  this  Globe  is  continu- 
ally heated  by  such  repeated  Vibrations  in  the  Day,  and  cooled 
by  the  Escape  of  the  Heat,  when  those  Vibrations  are  discon- 
tinu'd  in  the  Night,  or  intercepted  and  reflected  by  Clouds? 

Is  it  not  thus  that  Fire  is  amass'd,  and  makes  the  greatest 
Part  of  the  Substance  of  combustible  Bodies? 

Perhaps,  when  this  Globe  was  first  form'd,  and  its  original 
Particles  took  their  Place  at  certain  Distances  from  the 
Centre,  in  proportion  to  their  greater  or  less  Gravity,  the 
fluid  Fire,  attracted  towards  that  Centre,  might  in  great 
part  be  oblig'd,  as  lightest,  to  take  place  above  the  rest,  and 
thus  form  the  Sphere  of  Fire  above  supposed,  which  would 
afterwards  be  continually  diminishing  by  the  Substance  it 
afforded  to  organiz'd  Bodies,  and  the  Quantity  restor'd  to  it 
again  by  the  Burning  or  other  Separating  of  the  Parts  of  those 
Bodies. 

Is  not  the  natural  Heat  of  Animals  thus  produc'd,  by 
separating  in  Digestion  the  Parts  of  Food,  and  setting  their 
Fire  at  Liberty? 

Is  it  not  this  Sphere  of  Fire,  which  kindles  the  wandring 
Globes  that  sometimes  pass  thro'  it  in  our  Course  round  the 
Sun,  have  their  Surface  kindled  by  it,  and  burst  when  their 
included  Air  is  greatly  ratified  by  the  Heat  on  their  burning 
Surfaces?  May  it  not  have  been  from  such  Considerations 
that  the  ancient  Philosophers  supposed  a  Sphere  of  Fire  to 
exist  above  the  Air  of  our  Atmosphere  ? 


1784]     PAPER  MONEY  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES        231 


1514.     OF  THE  PAPER  MONEY  OF  THE  UNITED 
STATES   OF  AMERICA1  (L.  c.) 

MUCH  Conversation  having  arisen  lately  on  the  Subject 
of  this  Money,  and  few  Persons  being  well  acquainted  with 
the  Nature  of  it,  you  may  possibly  oblige  many  of  your 
Readers  by  the  following  Account  of  it. 

When  Great  Britain  commenced  the  present  War  upon 
the  Colonies,  they  had  neither  Arms  nor  Ammunition,  nor 
Money  to  purchase  them  or  to  pay  Soldiers.  The  new  Gov- 
ernment had  not  immediately  the  Consistence  necessary  for 
collecting  heavy  Taxes ;  nor  would  Taxes  that  could  be  raised 
within  the  Year  during  Peace,  have  been  sufficient  for  a  Year's 
Expence  in  Time  of  War ;  they  therefore  printed  a  Quantity 
of  Paper  Bills,  each  expressing  to  be  of  the  Value  of  a  certain 
Number  of  Spanish  Dollars,  from  One  to  Thirty ;  with  these 
they  paid,  clothed,  and  fed  their  Troops,  fitted  out  Ships,  and 
supported  the  War  during  Five  Years  against  one  of  the  most 
powerful  Nations  of  Europe. 

The  Paper  thus  issued,  passed  current  in  all  the  internal 
Commerce  of  the  United  States  at  par  with  Silver  during  the 
first  Year;  supplying  the  Place  of  the  Gold  and  Silver  for- 
merly current,  but  which  was  sent  out  of  the  Country  to  pur- 
chase Arms,  &c.,  or  to  defray  Expences  of  the  Army  in  Can- 
ada :  But  the  great  Number  of  Troops  necessary  to  be  kept 
on  foot  to  defend  a  Coast  of  near  500  Leagues  in  Length, 
from  an  Enemy,  who,  being  Masters  at  Sea,  could  land 

1  The  date  of  composition  guessingly  set  down  by  Bigelow  and  by  Fitz- 
patrick  (List  of  the  B.  F.  Papers  in  the  L.  C.)  is  July  3,  1784.  — ED. 


232        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

Troops  where  they  pleas'd,  occasion'd  such  a  Demand  for 
Money,  and  such  frequent  additional  Emissions  of  new  Bills, 
that  the  Quantity  became  much  greater  than  was  wanted 
for  the  Purposes  of  Commerce;  and,  the  Commerce  being 
diminished  by  the  War,  the  Surplus  Quantity  of  Cash  was 
by  that  means  also  proportionally  augmented. 

It  has  been  long  and  often  observed,  that  when  the  current 
Money  of  a  Country  is  augmented  beyond  the  Occasions  for 
Money,  as  a  Medium  of  Commerce,  its  Value  as  Money  dimin- 
ishes. Its  Interest  is  reduced,  and  the  Principal  sinks,  if 
some  Means  are  not  found  to  take  off  the  Surplus  Quantity. 
Silver  may  be  carried  out  of  the  Country  that  produces  it, 
into  other  Countries,  and  thereby  prevent  too  great  a  Fall  of 
its  Value  in  that  Country.  But,  when  by  this  Means  it  grows 
more  plentiful  in  all  other  Countries,  nothing  prevents  its 
sinking  in  Value.  Thus  within  300  Years  since  the  Discovery 
of  America,  and  the  vast  Quantities  of  Gold  and  Silver  im- 
ported from  thence,  and  spread  over  Europe  and  the  rest  of 
the  World,  those  Metals  have  sunk  in  value  4  fifths,  that  is, 
five  Ounces  of  Silver  will  not  purchase  more  Labour  now  than 
one  Ounce  would  have  done  before  that  Discovery. 

Had  Spain  been  able  to  confine  all  that  Treasure  within 
its  own  Territories,  silver  would  probably  have  been  there 
of  no  more  Value  by  this  Time  than  Iron  or  Lead.  The  Ex- 
portation has  kept  its  Value  on  a  Level  with  its  Value  in 
other  Parts  of  the  World.  Paper  Money  not  being  easily 
receiv'd  out  of  the  Country  that  makes  it,  if  the  Quantity 
becomes  excessive,  the  Depreciation  is  quicker  and  greater. 

Thus  the  excessive  Quantities  which  Necessity  oblig'd  the 
Americans  to  issue  for  continuing  the  War,  occasion'd  a 
Depreciation  of  Value,  which,  commencing  towards  the  End 


1784]     PAPER  MONEY  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES         233 

of  1776,  has  gone  on  augmenting,  till  at  the  beginning  of  the 
present  Year,  50,  60,  and  as  far  as  70  Dollars  in  Paper  were 
reckoned  not  more  than  equal  to  one  Dollar  in  Silver,  and  the 
Prices  of  all  things  rose  in  Proportion. 

Before  the  Depreciation  commenc'd,  the  Congress,  fearing 
it,  stopt  for  a  time  the  Emission  of  new  Bills,  and  resolv'd  to 
supply  their  Occasions  by  borrowing.  Those  who  lent 
them  the  Paper  Money  at  that  time  and  until  March,  1778, 
fix'd  their  Property  and  prevented  its  Depreciation;  the  in- 
terest being  regularly  paid  by  Bills  of  Exchange  on  France, 
which  supports  the  Value  of  the  principal  Sums  lent. 

These  Loans  not  being  sufficient,  the  Congress  were  forced 
to  print  more  Bills,  and  the  Depreciation  proceeded.  The 
Congress  would  borrow  no  more  on  the  former  Conditions 
of  paying  the  Interest  in  French  Money  at  Paris ;  but  great 
Sums  were  offered  and  lent  them  on  the  Terms  of  being  paid 
the  Interest,  and  repaid  the  Principal  hi  the  same  Bills  in 
America. 

These  Loans  in  some  degree  lessen 'd,  but  did  not  quite  take 
away,  the  Necessity  of  new  Emissions;  so  that  it  at  length 
arrived  at  the  excessive  difference  between  the  Value  of 
Paper  and  Silver,  that  is  above  mentioned. 

To  put  an  End  to  this  Evil,  which  destroy'd  all  certainty 
in  Commerce,  the  Congress  first  resolved  to  diminish  the 
Quantity  gradually  by  Taxes,  which,  tho'  nominally  vastly 
great,  were  really  less  heavy  than  they  appear'd  to  be,  and 
were  readily  paid.  By  these  Taxes  15  Millions  of  dollars, 
of  the  200  Millions  extant,  are  to  be  brought  hi  monthly  and 
burnt.  This  Operation  will  destroy  the  whole  Quantity,  to 
wit,  200,000,000,  in  about  14  Months.  Thirty  Millions  have 
already  been  so  destroy'd. 


234       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

To  prevent  in  the  mean  time  the  farther  Progress  of  the 
Depreciation,  and  give  some  kind  of  determinate  Value  to 
the  Paper,  it  was  ordain'd,  that,  for  every  sum  of  Forty 
Dollars  payable  by  any  Person  as  Tax,  he  might  discharge 
himself  by  paying  One  Dollar  in  Silver.  Whether  this  Ex- 
pedient will  produce  the  Effect  intended  or  not,  Experience 
and  Time  must  discover. 

The  general  Effect  of  the  Depreciation  among  the  Inhab- 
itants of  the  States  has  been  this,  that  it  has  operated  as  a 
gradual  Tax  upon  them.  Their  Business  has  been  done 
and  paid  for  by  the  Paper  Money ;  and  every  Man  has  paid 
his  Share  of  the  Tax  according  to  the  Time  he  retain'd  any 
of  the  Money  in  his  Hands,  and  to  the  Depreciation  within 
that  Time.  Thus  it  has  proved  a  Tax  on  Money,  a  kind  of 
Property  very  difficult  to  be  taxed  in  any  other  Mode;  and 
it  has  fallen  more  equally  than  many  other  Taxes,  as  those 
People  paid  most,  who,  being  richest,  had  most  Money  passing 
thro'  their  Hands. 

With  regard  to  the  Paper  Money  or  Bills  borrowed  by  the 
Congress,  it  appears  by  the  above  Account  to  be  under  two 
different  Descriptions. 

First,  the  Quantity  of  Bills  borrowed  before  the  Deprecia- 
tion, the  Interest  of  which  in  Silver  was  to  be  and  is  paid  in 
France.  The  Principal  of  this  Sum  is  considered  as  equal 
in  Value  to  so  many  Dollars  of  Silver  as  were  borrowed  in 
Paper,  and  will  be  paid  in  Silver  accordingly. 

Secondly,  the  Quantities  of  Bills  borrowed  in  different 
Stages  of  the  Depreciation  down  to  the  present  time.  These 
Sums  are,  by  a  Resolution  of  Congress,  to  be  repaid  in  Silver 
according  to  the  Value  they  were  of  in  Silver  at  the  Time  they 
were  lent ;  and  the  Interest  is  to  be  paid  at  the  same  Rate. 


1784]      PAPER  MONEY  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES        235 

Thus  those  Lenders  have  their  Property  secured  from  the 
Loss  by  Depreciation  subsequent  to  the  Time  of  their  Loan. 

All  the  Inhabitants  are  satisfied  and  pleas'd  with  this 
Arrangement,  their  Public  Debt  being  by  this  Means  reduced 
to  a  small  Sum.  And  the  new  Paper  Money,  which  bears 
Interest,  and  for  the  Payment  of  which  solid  Funds  are  pro- 
vided, is  actually  in  Credit  equal  to  real  Silver. 

If  any  Persons  living  in  distant  Countries  have,  thro*  their 
Absence  from  their  Property  in  America,  suffered  Loss  by 
not  having  it  timely  fix'd  in  the  several  Loans  above  men- 
tioned, it  is  not  doubted  but  that,  upon  an  Application  to 
Congress  stating  the  Case,  they  will  meet  with  Redress. 

The  real  Money  us'd  in  the  United  States  is  French,  Span- 
ish, Portuguese,  and  English  coins,  Gold  and  Silver.  The 
most  common  is  Spanish  milFd  dollars,  worth  5  livres  5  sols 
tournois. 

The  nominal  Money  is  generally  Paper,  reckoned  in 
Pounds,  Shillings,  and  Pence,  of  different  Value  in  the  differ- 
ent States  when  compar'd  with  real  Money,  and  that  Value 
often  changing,  so  that  nothing  certain  can  be  said  of  it.  But 
everywhere  the  accounts  are  kept  in  the  nominal  Pounds, 
Shillings,  and  Pence,  the  Pound  containing  twenty  Shillings, 
and  the  Shillings  twelve  Pence,  whatever  may  be  the  real 
Value. 

Bills  of  Exchange  are  frequently  drawn  on  Europe;  the 
Rate  of  Exchange  differing  in  different  States,  and  fluctu- 
ating in  the  same  State,  occasioned  by  the  greater  or  less 
Plenty  of  Bills  or  of  Demand  for  others ;  they  are  commonly 
drawn  at  30  Days'  Sight. 

The  Usages  in  Buying  and  Selling  Merchandises,  are  much 
the  same  as  in  Europe,  except  that  in  Virginia  the  Planter 


236       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

carries  his  Tobacco  to  Magazines,  where  it  is  inspected  by 
Officers,  who  ascertain  its  Quality  and  give  Receipts  express- 
ing the  Quantity.  The  Merchants  receive  these  Receipts 
in  Payment  for  Goods,  and  afterwards  draw  the  Tobacco 
out  of  the  Magazines  for  Exportation.  Weights  and  Meas- 
ures are  uniform  in  all  the  States,  following  the  Standard  of 
Great  Britain. 

Money  is  lent  either  upon  Bond  or  on  Mortgage,  payable 
hi  a  Year  with  Interest.  The  Interest  differs  in  the  different 
States  from  5  to  7  per  cent. 

Goods  are  generally  imported  on  18  Months'  Credit  from 
Europe,  sold  in  the  Country  at  12  Months'  credit. 

Billets  or  Promissory  Notes,  payable  to  the  Creditor  or 
Order,  are  in  use,  and  demandable  when  due,  as  well  as 
accepted  Bills  of  Exchange,  without  any  Days  of  Grace,  but 
by  particular  Favour. 


1515.    TO  THOMAS  PERCIVAL         (L.  c.) 

DEAR  SIR,  Passy,  July  17^784. 

I  received  yesterday,  by  Mr.  White,  your  kind  Letter  of 
May  nth,  with  the  most  agreable  Present  of  your  new  Book.1 
I  read  it  before  I  slept,  which  is  a  Proof  of  the  good  Effects 
your  happy  Manner  has  of  drawing  your  Reader  on,  by 
mixing  little  Anecdotes  and  historical  Facts  with  your  In- 
structions. Be  pleased  to  accept  my  thankful  Acknowledg- 
ments for  the  Pleasure  it  has  afforded  me. 

1  This  letter  is  in  A.  P.  S.  "  The  present "  was  a  copy  of  PercivaPs  "  Moral 
and  Literary  Dissertations."  Mr.  White  was  a  young  gentleman  of  Manches- 
ter, a  member  of  the  society  mentioned  below.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  THOMAS  PERCIVAL  237 

It  is  astonishing  that  the  murderous  Practice  of  Duelling, 
which  you  so  justly  condemn,  should  continue  so  long  in 
vogue.  Formerly,  when  Duels  were  used  to  determine 
Lawsuits,  from  an  Opinion  that  Providence  would  in  every 
Instance  favour  Truth  and  Right  with  Victory,  they  were 
excusable.  At  present,  they  decide  nothing.  A  Man  says 
something,  which  another  tells  him  is  a  Lie.  They  fight; 
but,  whichever  is  killed,  the  Point  in  dispute  remains  unsettled. 
To  this  purpose  they  have  a  pleasant  little  Story  here.  A 
Gentleman  hi  a  Coffee-house  desired  another  to  sit  farther 
from  him.  "  Why  so  ?"  "  Because,  Sir,  you  stink."  "  That 
is  an  Affront,  and  you  must  fight  me."  "I  will  fight  you,  if 
you  insist  upon  it;  but  I  do  not  see  how  that  will  mend  the 
Matter.  For  if  you  kill  me,  I  shall  stink  too;  and  if  I  kill 
you,  [you]  will  stink,  if  possible,  worse  than  you  do  at  present." 
How  can  such  miserable  Sinners  as  we  are  entertain  so  much 
Pride,  as  to  conceit  that  every  Offence  against  our  imagined 
Honour  merits  Death  ?  These  petty  Princes  in  their  own 
Opinion  would  call  that  Sovereign  a  Tyrant,  who  should  put 
one  of  them  to  death  for  a  little  uncivil  Language,  tho'  pointed 
at  his  sacred  Person;  yet  every  one  of  them  makes  himself 
Judge  in  his  own  Cause,  condemns  the  offender  without  a 
Jury,  and  undertakes  himself  to  be  the  Executioner.  With 
sincere  and  great  Esteem,  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Our  Friend,  Mr.  Vaughan,  may  perhaps  communi- 
cate to  you  some  Conjectures  of  mine  relating  to  the  Cold 
of  last  winter,  which  I  sent  to  him  in  return  for  the  Obser- 
vations on  Cold  of  Professor  Wilson.1  If  he  should,  and  you 

1  Professor  Patrick  Wilson  of  Glasgow.  —  ED. 


238        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

think  them  worthy  so  much  notice,  you  may  show  them  to 
your  Philosophical  Society,1  to  which  I  wish  all  imaginable 
success.  Their  Rules  appear  to  me  excellent. 


1516.    TO  MASON  WEEMS  AND  EDWARD  GANT2 

(L.  C.) 
Passy,  July  18,  1784. 

GENTLEMEN, 

On  receipt  of  your  Letter,3  acquainting  me  that  the  Arch- 
bishop [of  Canterbury]  would  not  permit  you  to  be  ordain'd, 
unless  you  took  the  Oath  of  Allegiance,  I  apply'd  to  a  Clergy- 
man of  my  Acquaintance  for  Information  on  the  Subject  of 
your  obtaining  Ordination  here.  His  Opinion  was,  that  it 
could  not  be  done ;  and  that,  if  it  were  done,  you  would  be 
required  to  vow  Obedience  to  the  Archbishop  of  Paris.  I 
next  inquired  of  the  Pope's  Nuncio,  whether  you  might  not 
be  ordain'd  by  their  Bishop  in  America,  Powers  being  sent  him 
for  that  purpose,  if  he  has  them  not  already.  The  answer 
was, "  The  Thing  is  impossible,  unless  the  Gentlemen  become 
Catholics." 

This  is  an  Affair  of  which  I  know  very  little,  and  there- 
fore I  may  ask  Questions  and  propose  means  that  are  im- 

1  The  Philosophical  Society  of  Manchester,  of  which  Dr.  Percival  was  one 
of  the  principal  founders  and  ornaments.  —  W.  T.  F. 

2  Mason  Locke  Weems  (i76o?-i825)  was  born  in  Virginia.     He  is  the 
celebrated  "  Parson  "  Weems  who  resigned  his  clerical  charge  to  become  a 
book  agent  for  Mathew  Carey.     His  fertile  fancy  and  easy  conscience  created 
the  indestructible  stories  of  the  youth  of  Washington.     He  wrote  also  a  "  Life 
of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1817).      Edward  Gant   (1746-1837),  a  native  of 
Maryland,  practised  medicine  before  applying  for  holy  orders.     He  became 
chaplain  of  the  United  States  Senate.  —  ED. 

3  Dated  July  9,  1784,  No.  170  Strand.     In  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 


1784]     TO  MASON  WEEMS  AND  EDWARD   CANT        239 

proper  or  impracticable.  But  what  is  the  necessity  of  your 
being  connected  with  the  Church  of  England?  Would  it 
not  be  as  well,  if  you  were  of  the  Church  of  Ireland?  The 
Religion  is  the  same,  tho'  there  is  a  different  set  of  Bishops 
and  Archbishops.  Perhaps  if  you  were  to  apply  to  the  Bishop 
of  Deny,  who  is  a  man  of  liberal  Sentiments,  he  might  give 
you  Orders  as  of  that  Church.  If  both  Britain  and  Ireland 
refuse  you,  (and  I  am  not  sure  that  the  Bishops  of  Denmark 
or  Sweden  would  ordain  you,  unless  you  become  Lutherans,) 
what  is  to  be  done?  Next  to  becoming  Presbyterians,  the 
Episcopalian  clergy  of  America,  in  my  humble  Opinion,  can- 
not do  better  than  to  follow  the  Example  of  the  first  Clergy 
of  Scotland,  soon  after  the  Conversion  of  that  Country  to 
Christianity,  who  when  their  King  had  built  the  Cathedral 
of  St.  Andrew's,  and  requested  the  King  of  Northumberland 
to  lend  his  Bishops  to  ordain  one  for  them,  that  their  Clergy 
might  not  as  heretofore  be  obliged  to  go  to  Northumberland 
for  Orders,  and  their  Request  was  refused ;  they  assembled 
in  the  Cathedral;  and,  the  Mitre,  Crosier,  and  Robes  of  a 
Bishop  being  laid  upon  the  Altar,  they,  after  earnest  Prayers 
for  Direction  in  their  Choice,  elected  one  of  their  own  Num- 
ber; when  the  King  said  to  him,  "Arise,  go  to  the  Altar,  and 
receive  your  Office  at  the  Hand  of  God"  His  brethren  led 
him  to  the  Altar,  robed  him,  put  the  Crozier  in  his  Hand,  and 
the  Mitre  on  his  Head,  and  he  became  the  first  Bishop  of 
Scotland. 

If  the  British  Isles  were  sunk  in  the  Sea  (and  the  Surface 
of  this  Globe  has  suffered  greater  Changes),  you  would  prob- 
ably take  some  such  Method  as  this ;  and,  if  they  persist  in 
denying  you  Ordination,  'tis  the  same  thing.  An  hundred 
years  hence,  when  People  are  more  enlightened,  it  will  be 


240        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

wondered  at,  that  Men  in  America,  qualified  by  their  Learn- 
ing and  Piety  to  pray  for  and  instruct  their  Neighbors,  should 
not  be  permitted  to  do  it  till  they  had  made  a  Voyage  of  six 
thousand  Miles  out  and  home,  to  ask  leave  of  a  cross  old 
Gentleman  at  Canterbury;  who  seems,  by  your  Account, 
to  have  as  little  Regard  for  the  Souls  of  the  People  of  Mary- 
land, as  King  William's  Attorney- General,  Seymour,  had  for 
those  of  Virginia.  The  Reverend  Commissary  Blair,  who 
projected  the  College  of  that  Province,  and  was  in  England 
to  solicit  Benefactions  and  a  Charter,  relates,  that  the  Queen, 
in  the  King's  Absence,  having  ordered  Seymour  to  draw  up 
the  Charter,  which  was  to  be  given,  with  £2000  in  Money, 
he  oppos'd  the  Grant;  saying  that  the  Nation  was  engag'd 
in  an  expensive  War,  that  the  Money  was  wanted  for  better 
purposes,  and  he  did  not  see  the  least  Occasion  for  a  College 
in  Virginia.  Blair  represented  to  him,  that  its  Intention  was 
to  educate  and  qualify  young  Men  to  be  Ministers  of  the  Gos- 
pel, much  wanted  there;  and  begged  Mr.  Attorney  would 
consider,  that  the  People  of  Virginia  had  souls  to  be  saved, 
as  well  as  the  People  of  England.  "Souls I"  says  he,  "damn 
your  Souls.  Make  Tobacco!"  I  have  the  honour  to  be, 
Gentlemen,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1517.    TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN        (i.e.) 

Passy,  July  26*,  1784. 
DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  have  received  several  Letters  from  you  lately,  dated 
June  1 6,  June  30,  and  July  13.  I  thank  you  for  the  Infor- 
mation respecting  the  Proceedings  of  your  West  India  Mer- 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  241 

chants,  or  rather  Planters.  The  Restraints  what  ever  they 
may  be  upon  our  Commerce  with  your  Islands,  will  prejudice 
their  Inhabitants,  I  apprehend,  more  than  us. 

It  is  wonderful  how  preposterously  the  affairs  of  this  world 
are  managed.  Naturally  one  would  imagine,  that  the  inter- 
est of  a  few  individuals  should  give  way  to  general  interest ; 
but  individuals  manage  their  affairs  with  so  much  more  appli- 
cation, industry,  and  address,  than  the  public  do  theirs,  that 
general  interest  most  commonly  gives  way  to  particular. 
We  assemble  parliaments  and  councils,  to  have  the  benefit 
of  their  collected  wisdom;  but  we  necessarily  have,  at  the 
same  time,  the  inconvenience  of  their  collected  passions, 
prejudices,  and  private  interests.  By  the  help  of  these,  artful 
men  overpower  their  wisdom,  and  dupe  its  possessors ;  and  if 
we  may  judge  by  the  acts,  arrets,  and  edicts,  all  the  world 
over,  for  regulating  commerce,  an  assembly  of  great  men  is 
the  greatest  fool  upon  earth. 

I  have  received  Cook's  Voyages,  which  you  put  Mr.  Os- 
wald in  the  way  of  sending  to  me.  By  some  Mistake  the  first 
Volume  was  omitted,  and  instead  of  it  a  Duplicate  sent  of 
the  third.  If  there  is  a  good  Print  of  Cook,  I  should  be  glad 
to  have  it,  being  personally  acquainted  with  him.  I  thank 
you  for  the  Pamphlets  by  Mr.  Estlin.  Every  thing  you  send 
me  gives  me  Pleasure;  to  receive  your  Account  would  give 
me  more  than  all. 

I  am  told,  that  the  little  Pamphlet  of  Advice  to  such  as  would 
remove  to  America,  is  reprinted  in  London,  with  my  Name  to 
it,  which  I  would  rather  had  been  omitted ;  but  wish  to  see 
a  Copy,  when  you  have  an  Opportunity  of  sending  it. 

Mr.  H.  has  long  continued  here  in  Expectation  of  Instruc- 
tions for  making  a  Treaty  of  Commerce,  but  they  do  not 

VOL.  IX  —  R 


242        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

come,  and  I  begin  to  suspect  none  are  intended ;  tho'  perhaps 
the  Delay  is  only  occasioned  by  the  over  great  Burthen  of 
Business  at  present  on  the  Shoulders  of  your  Ministers.  We 
do  not  press  the  Matter,  but  are  content  to  wait  till  they  can 
see  their  Interest  respecting  America  more  clearly,  being  cer- 
tain that  we  can  shift  as  well  as  you  without  a  Treaty. 

The  Conjectures  I  sent  you  concerning  the  cold  of  last 
Winter  still  appear  to  me  probable.  The  moderate  Season 
in  Russia  and  Canada,  do  not  weaken  them.  I  think  our 
Frost  here  began  about  the  24th  of  December;  in  America, 
the  12  of  January.  I  thank  you  for  recommending  to  me  Mr. 
Arbuthnot ;  I  have  had  Pleasure  in  his  Conversation.  I  wish 
much  to  see  the  new  Pieces  you  had  in  hand.  I  congratulate 
you  on  the  Return  of  your  Wedding-day,  and  wish  for  your 
Sake  and  Mrs.  Vaughan's,  that  you  may  see  a  great  many  of 
them,  all  as  happy  as  the  first. 

I  like  the  young  stranger  very  much.  He  seems  sensible, 
ingenious,  and  modest,  has  a  good  deal  of  Instruction,  and 
makes  judicious  Observations.  He  will  probably  distin- 
guish himself  advantageously.  I  have  not  yet  heard  from 
Mr.  Nairne. 

Dr.  Price's  Pamphlet  of  Advice  to  America  is  a  good  one, 
and  will  do  Good.  You  ask,  "what  Remedy  I  have  for  the 
growing  Luxury  of  my  Country,  which  gives  so  much  Offence 
to  all  English  travellers  without  exception."  I  answer,  that 
I  think  it  exaggerated,  and  that  Travellers  are  no  good 
Judges  whether  our  Luxury  is  growing  or  diminishing.  Our 
People  are  hospitable,  and  have  indeed  too  much  Pride  in 
displaying  upon  their  Tables  before  Strangers  the  Plenty  and 
Variety  that  our  Country  affords.  They  have  the  Vanity,  too, 
of  sometimes  borrowing  one  another's  Plate  to  entertain  more 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  243 

splendidly.  Strangers  being  invited  from  House  to  House, 
and  meeting  every  Day  with  a  Feast,  imagine  what  they  see 
is  the  ordinary  Way  of  living  of  all  the  Families  where  they 
dine ;  when  perhaps  each  Family  lives  a  Week  after  upon  the 
Remains  of  the  Dinner  given.  It  is,  I  own,  a  Folly  in  our 
People  to  give  such  Offence  to  English  Travellers.  The  first 
part  of  the  Proverb  is  thereby  verified,  that  Fools  make  Feasts. 
I  wish  in  this  Case  the  other  were  as  true,  and  wise  Men  eat 
them.  These  Travellers  might,  one  would  think,  find  some 
Fault  they  could  more  decently  reproach  us  with,  than  that 
of  our  excessive  Civility  to  them  as  Strangers. 

I  have  not,  indeed  yet  thought  of  a  Remedy  for  Luxury 
I  am  not  sure,  that  in  a  great  State  it  is  capable  of  a  Remedy. 
Nor  that  the  Evil  is  in  itself  always  so  great  as  it  is  represented. 
Suppose  we  include  in  the  Definition  of  Luxury  all  unnecessary 
Expence,  and  then  let  us  consider  whether  Laws  to  prevent 
such  Expence  are  possible  to  be  executed  in  a  great  Country, 
and  whether,  if  they  could  be  executed,  our  People  generally 
would  be  happier,  or  even  richer.  Is  not  the  Hope  of  one 
day  being  able  to  purchase  and  enjoy  Luxuries  a  great  Spur 
to  Labour  and  Industry?  May  not  Luxury,  therefore,  pro- 
duce more  than  it  consumes,  if  without  such  a  Spur  People 
would  be,  as  they  are  naturally  enough  inclined  to  be,  lazy 
and  indolent  ?  To  this  purpose  I  remember  a  Circumstance. 
The  Skipper  of  a  Shallop,  employed  between  Cape  May  and 
Philadelphia,  had  done  us  some  small  Service,  for  which  he 
refused  Pay.  My  Wife,  understanding  that  he  had  a  Daugh- 
ter, sent  her  as  a  Present  a  new-fashioned  Cap.  Three 
Years  After,  this  Skipper  being  at  my  House  with  an  old 
Farmer  of  Cape  May,  his  Passenger,  he  mentioned  the  Cap, 
and  how  much  his  Daughter  had  been  pleased  with  it.  "  But," 


244       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

says  he, "  it  proved  a  dear  Cap  to  our  Congregation."  "  How 
so?"  "When  my  Daughter  appeared  in  it  at  Meeting,  it 
was  so  much  admired,  that  all  the  Girls  resolved  to  get  such 
Caps  from  Philadelphia;  and  my  Wife  and  I  computed, 
that  the  whole  could  not  have  cost  less  than  a  hundred  Pound." 
"True,"  says  the  Farmer,  "but  you  do  not  tell  all  the  Story. 
I  think  the  Cap  was  nevertheless  an  Advantage  to  us,  for 
it  was  the  first  thing  that  put  our  Girls  upon  Knitting  worsted 
Mittens  for  Sale  at  Philadelphia,  that  they  might  have  where- 
withal to  buy  Caps  and  Ribbands  there ;  and  you  know  that 
that  Industry  has  continued,  and  is  likely  to  continue  and 
increase  to  a  much  greater  Value,  and  answer  better  Pur- 
poses." Upon  the  whole,  I  was  more  reconciled  to  this 
little  Piece  of  Luxury,  since  not  only  the  Girls  were  made 
happier  by  having  fine  Caps,  but  the  Philadelphians  by  the 
Supply  of  warm  Mittens. 

In  our  Commercial  Towns  upon  the  Seacoast,  Fortunes 
will  occasionally  be  made.  Some  of  those  who  grow  rich 
will  be  prudent,  live  within  Bounds,  and  preserve  what  they 
have  gained  for  their  Posterity ;  others,  fond  of  showing  their 
Wealth,  will  be  extravagant  and  ruin  themselves.  Laws 
cannot  prevent  this;  and  perhaps  it  is  not  always  an  evil  to 
the  Publick.  A  Shilling  spent  idly  by  a  Fool,  may  be  picked 
up  by  a  Wiser  Person,  who  knows  better  what  to  do  with  it. 
It  is  therefore  not  lost.  A  vain,  silly  Fellow  builds  a  fine 
House,  furnishes  it  richly,  lives  in  it  expensively,  and  in  few 
years  ruins  himself;  but  the  Masons,  Carpenters,  Smiths, 
and  other  honest  Tradesmen  have  been  by  his  Employ  as- 
sisted in  maintaining  and  raising  their  Families ;  the  Farmer 
has  been  paid  for  his  labour,  and  encouraged,  and  the  Estate 
is  now  in  better  Hands.  In  some  Cases,  indeed,  certain 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  245 

Modes  of  Luxury  may  be  a  publick  Evil,  in  the  same  Manner 
as  it  is  a  Private  one.  If  there  be  a  Nation,  for  Instance, 
that  exports  its  Beef  and  Linnen,  to  pay  for  its  Importation 
of  Claret  and  Porter,  while  a  great  Part  of  its  People  live  upon 
Potatoes,  and  wear  no  Shirts,  wherein  does  it  differ  from  the 
Sot,  who  lets  his  Family  starve,  and  sells  his  Clothes  to  buy 
Drink?  Our  American  Commerce  is, I  confess, a  little  in  this 
way.  We  sell  our  Victuals  to  your  Islands  for  Rum  and 
Sugar;  the  substantial  Necessaries  of  Life  for  Superfluities. 
But  we  have  Plenty,  and  live  well  nevertheless,  tho'  by  being 
soberer,  we  might  be  richer. 

By  the  by,  here  is  just  issued  an  arrtt  of  Council  taking  off 
all  the  Duties  upon  the  exportation  of  Brandies,  which,  it  is 
said,  will  render  them  cheaper  in  America  than  your  Rum; 
in  which  case  there  is  no  doubt  but  they  will  be  pre- 
ferr'd,  and  we  shall  be  better  able  to  bear  your  Restrictions 
on  our  Commerce.  There  are  Views  here,  by  augmenting 
their  Settlements,  of  being  able  to  supply  the  growing  People 
of  America  with  the  Sugar  that  may  be  wanted  there.  On 
the  whole,  I  guess  England  will  get  as  little  by  the  Commer- 
cial War  she  has  begun  with  us,  as  she  did  by  the  Military. 
But  to  return  to  Luxury. 

The  vast  Quantity  of  Forest  Lands  we  have  yet  to  clear, 
and  put  in  order  for  Cultivation,  will  for  a  long  time  keep  the 
Body  of  our  Nation  laborious  and  frugal.  Forming  an  Opin- 
ion of  our  People  and  their  Manners  by  what  is  seen  among 
the  Inhabitants  of  the  Seaports,  is  judging  from  an  improper 
Sample.  The  People  of  the  Trading  Towns  may  be  rich 
and  luxurious,  while  the  Country  possesses  all  the  Virtues, 
that  tend  to  private  Happiness  and  publick  Prosperity. 
Those  Towns  are  not  much  regarded  by  the  Country;  they 


246        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

are  hardly  considered  as  an  essential  Part  of  the  States; 
and  the  Experience  of  the  last  War  has  shown,  that  their 
being  in  the  Possession  of  the  Enemy  did  not  necessarily 
draw  on  the  Subjection  of  the  Country,  which  bravely  con- 
tinued to  maintain  its  Freedom  and  Independence  notwith- 
standing. 

It  has  been  computed  by  some  Political  Arithmetician, 
that,  if  every  Man  and  Woman  would  work  for  four  Hours 
each  Day  on  something  useful,  that  Labour  would  produce 
sufficient  to  procure  all  the  Necessaries  and  Comforts  of  Life, 
Want  and  Misery  would  be  banished  out  of  the  World,  and 
the  rest  of  the  24  hours  might  be  Leisure  and  Pleasure. 

What  occasions  then  so  much  Want  and  Misery?  It  is 
the  Employment  of  Men  and  Women  in  Works,  that  produce 
neither  the  Necessaries  nor  Conveniences  of  Life,  who,  with 
those  who  do  nothing,  consume  the  Necessaries  raised  by  the 
Laborious.  To  explain  this. 

The  first  Elements  of  Wealth  are  obtained  by  Labour, 
from  the  Earth  and  Waters.  I  have  Land,  and  raise  Corn. 
With  this,  if  I  feed  a  Family  that  does  nothing,  my  Corn  will 
be  consum'd,  and  at  the  end  of  the  Year  I  shall  be  no  richer 
than  I  was  at  the  beginning.  But  if,  while  I  feed  them,  I 
employ  them,  some  in  Spinning,  others  in  hewing  Timber 
and  sawing  Boards,  others  in  making  Bricks,  &c.  for  Build- 
ing, the  Value  of  my  Corn  will  be  arrested  and  remain  with 
me,  and  at  the  end  of  the  Year  we  may  all  be  better  clothed 
and  better  lodged.  And  if,  instead  of  employing  a  Man  I 
feed  in  making  Bricks,  I  employ  him  in  fiddling  for  me,  the 
Corn  he  eats  is  gone,  and  no  Part  of  his  Manufacture  remains 
to  augment  the  Wealth  and  Convenience  of  the  family;  I 
shall  therefore  be  the  poorer  for  this  fiddling  Man,  unless  the 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  247 

rest  of  my  Family  work  more,  or  eat  less,  to  make  up  the 
Deficiency  he  occasions. 

Look  round  the  World  and  see  the  Millions  employ'd  in 
doing  nothing,  or  in  something  that  amounts  to  nothing, 
when  the  Necessaries  and  Conveniences  of  Life  are  in  ques- 
tion. What  is  the  Bulk  of  Commerce,  for  which  we  fight 
and  destroy  each  other,  but  the  Toil  of  Millions  for  Super- 
fluities, to  the  great  Hazard  and  Loss  of  many  Lives  by  the 
constant  Dangers  of  the  Sea  ?  How  much  labour  is  spent  in 
Building  and  fitting  great  Ships,  to  go  to  China  and  Arabia 
for  Tea  and  Coffee,  to  the  West  Indies  for  Sugar,  to  America 
for  Tobacco !  These  things  cannot  be  called  the  Necessaries 
of  Life,  for  our  Ancestors  lived  very  comfortably  without 
them. 

A  Question  may  be  asked;  Could  all  these  People,  now 
employed  in  raising,  making,  or  canying  Superfluities,  be 
subsisted  by  raising  Necessaries?  I  think  they  might.  The 
World  is  large,  and  a  great  Part  of  it  still  uncultivated.  Many 
hundred  Millions  of  Acres  in  Asia,  Africa,  and  America  are 
still  Forest,  and  a  great  Deal  even  in  Europe.  On  100  Acres 
of  this  Forest  a  Man  might  become  a  substantial  Farmer, 
and  100,000  Men,  employed  in  clearing  each  his  100  Acres, 
would  hardly  brighten  a  Spot  big  enough  to  be  Visible  from 
the  Moon,  unless  with  HerschelTs  Telescope ;  so  vast  are  the 
Regions  still  in  Wood  unimproved. 

'Tis  however,  some  Comfort  to  reflect,  that,  upon  the  whole, 
the  Quantity  of  Industry  and  Prudence  among  Mankind 
exceeds  the  Quantity  of  Idleness  and  Folly.  Hence  the  In- 
crease of  good  Buildings,  Farms  cultivated,  and  populous 
Cities  filled  with  Wealth,  all  over  Europe,  which  a  few  Ages 
since  were  only  to  be  found  on  the  Coasts  of  the  Mediterra- 


248        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

nean;  and  this,  notwithstanding  the  mad  Wars  continually 
raging,  by  which  are  often  destroyed  in  one  year  the  Works 
of  many  Years'  Peace.  So  that  we  may  hope  the  Luxury  of  a 
few  Merchants  on  the  Seacoast  will  not  be  the  Ruin  of  America. 
One  reflection  more,  and  I  will  end  this  long,  rambling 
Letter.  Almost  all  the  Parts  of  our  Bodies  require  some 
Expence.  The  Feet  demand  Shoes;  the  Legs,  Stockings; 
the  rest  of  the  Body,  Clothing;  and  the  Belly,  a  good  deal 
of  Victuals.  Our  Eyes,  tho'  exceedingly  useful,  ask,  when 
reasonable,  only  the  cheap  Assistance  of  Spectacles,  which 
could  not  much  impair  our  Finances.  But  the  Eyes  of  other 
People  are  the  Eyes  that  ruin  us.  If  all  but  myself  were 
blind,  I  should  want  neither  fine  Clothes,  fine  Houses,  nor 

fine  Furniture. 

Adieu,  my  dear  Friend,  I  am 

Yours  ever 
B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  This  will  be  delivered  to  you  by  my  Grandson.  I 
am  persuaded  you  will  afford  him  your  Civilities  and  Counsels. 
Please  to  accept  a  little  Present  of  Books,  I  send  by  him, 
curious  for  the  Beauty  of  the  Impression. 


1518.    TO    COMTE   DE   MERCY   ARGENTEAU1 

Passy,  July  30,  1784. 

SIR, 

I  have  the  honour  to  communicate  to  your  Excellency  an 
extract  from  the  instructions  of  Congress  to  their  late  Com- 

1  From  "Diplomatic  Revolutionary  Correspondence"  (Sparks),  Vol.  II, 
p.  515.  Comte  de  Argenteau  was  Austrian  Ambassador  at  the  Court  of 
Versailles.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  MESSRS.  SEARS  AND  SMITH  249 

missioners  for  treating  of  peace,  expressing  their  desire  to 
cultivate  the  friendship  of  his  Imperial  Majesty,  and  to  enter 
into  a  treaty  of  commerce  for  the  mutual  advantage  of  his 
subjects  and  the  citizens  of  the  United  States,  which  I  request 
you  will  be  pleased  to  lay  before  his  Majesty.  The  appointing 
and  instructing  Commissioners  for  treaties  of  commerce  with 
the  powers  of  Europe  generally  has,  by  various  circumstances, 
been  long  delayed,  but  is  now  done ;  and  I  have  just  received 
advice,  that  Mr.  Jefferson,  late  Governor  of  Virginia,  com- 
missioned with  Mr.  Adams,  our  minister  in  Holland,  and 
myself,  for  that  service,  is  on  his  way  hither,  and  may  be 
expected  by  the  end  of  August,  when  we  shall  be  ready  to 
enter  into  a  treaty  with  his  Imperial  Majesty  for  the  above 
purpose,  if  such  should  be  his  pleasure.  With  great  and 

sincere  respect,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1519.    TO  MESSRS.  SEARS   AND   SMITH    (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Aug.  4, 1784. 

GENTLEMEN, 

Upon  Receipt  of  yours  relating  to  your  Cargo  of  Slaves  at 
Martinico,  I  endeavour'd  to  inform  myself  what  was  the  Law 
in  such  Cases;  and  I  found,  that  by  an  arret  du  Conseil  d'Etat 
du  Roi,  of  the  28th  of  June,  1783,  there  is  a  Duty  laid,  of  100 
Livres  per  head,  on  all  Negroes  imported  in  foreign  Ships,  and 
this  Duty  is  granted  and  is  to  be  paid  as  a  Premium  to  the 
French  Importers  of  Negroes,  as  an  Encouragement  to  their 
own  African  Trade.  Under  these  Circumstances  I  am 
advis'd,  that  it  cannot  be  expected  that  a  general  national 
Law  should  be  set  aside  in  favour  of  a  particular  foreign 


250      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

Ship ;  especially  as  the  King,  if  he  forgives  the  Duty  to  the 
Stranger,  must  thereby  do  Injustice  to  his  own  Subjects,  to 
whom  he  had  promised  the  Produce  of  that  Duty,  unless  he 
pays  it  to  them  out  of  his  own  Money,  which  we  cannot  de- 
cently request  him  to  do.  I  do  not,  therefore,  see  any  Possi- 
bility of  your  avoiding  the  Payment.  I  have  the  Honour  to 

be,  Gentlemen, 

Your  most  obedient 

&  most  humble  Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1520.    TO    JOHN  ADAMS  (M.  H.  s.) 

Passy,  August  6,  1784. 

SIR  :  —  Mr.  Bingham  sent  me  last  night,  from  Paris,  your 
Excellency's  letter  of  the  27th  past,  enclosing  a  copy  of  one 
from  Mr.  Jefferson.  I  had  before  sent  you  a  copy  of  one 
from  the  same  to  me,  which  I  hope  you  received.  I  enclose 
herewith  copies  of  a  letter  from  Mr.  Thomson,  some  new  in- 
structions, and  one  of  the  commissions.  The  other  two  are 
in  the  same  words,  except  that  instead  of  the  words  the  United 
Netherlands,  there  is  in  one  France,  and  in  the  other  Sweden. 
These  came  by  Monsieur  de  la  Luzerne,  but  it  was  not  before 
Wednesday  last  that  I  received  them.  You  will  see  that  a 
good  deal  of  business  is  cut  out  for  us  —  treaties  to  be  made 
with,  I  think,  twenty  powers  in  two  years,  —  so  that  we  are 
not  likely  to  eat  the  bread  of  idleness ;  and  that  we  may  not 
surfeit  by  eating  too  much,  our  masters  have  diminished  our 
allowance.  I  commend  their  economy,  and  shall  imitate  it 
by  diminishing  my  expense.  Our  too  liberal  entertainment 
of  our  countrymen  here  has  been  reported  at  home  by  our 


1784]  TO  MRS.   MARY  HEWSON  251 

guests,  and  has  given  offence.  They  must  be  contented  for 
the  future,  as  I  am,  with  plain  beef  and  pudding.  The 
readers  of  Connecticut  newspapers  ought  not  to  be  troubled 
for  any  more  accounts  of  our  extravagance.  For  my  own  part, 
if  I  could  sit  down  to  dinner  on  a  piece  of  excellent  salt  pork 
and  pumpkin,  I  would  not  give  a  farthing  for  all  the  luxuries 
of  Paris. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1521.    TO  MRS.  MARY  HEWSON1       (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Aug.  15,  1784. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  July  22.  I  wish  you  had 
executed  your  Project  of  taking  a  little  Trip  to  see  me  this 
Summer.  You  would  have  made  me  very  happy,  and  might 
have  bath'd  your  Children  here,  as  well  as  at  Southampton, 
I  having  a  Bath  in  my  House,  besides  the  River  in  view.  I 
like  your  monthly  Account  of  them,  and  in  Return  send  you 
my  Daughter's  Account  of  my  Grandchildren  at  Philadelphia. 
You  will  see  she  expected  me  home  this  Summer;  but  my 
Constituents  have  sent  me  a  new  Commission,  and  I  must  stay 
another  Winter.  Can  you  not  come  and  pass  it  with  me  here  ? 

Temple,  who  proposes  to  have  the  Pleasure  of  delivering 
this  to  you,  will  explain  to  you  how  you  may  be  accommodated, 
and,  if  you  can  resolve  to  come,  will  conduct  you.  Except 
being  at  home,  which  I  begin  now  to  fear  I  never  shall  be, 
nothing  could  give  me  greater  Pleasure.  Come,  my  dear 
Friend,  live  with  me  while  I  stay  here,  and  go  with  me,  if  I 
do  go,  to  America.  Yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.— ED. 


252       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

P.  S.  My  Love  to  the  dear  Children,  particularly  my 
Godson,  for  whom  Temple  has  a  little  Present  of  French 
Books. 


1522.    TO   WILLIAM   FRANKLIN       (B.  ic.) 

Passy,  Aug.  16,  1784. 
DEAR  SON, 

I  received  your  Letter  of  the  22d  past,  and  am  glad  to  find 
that  you  desire  to  revive  the  affectionate  Intercourse,  that 
formerly  existed  between  us.  It  will  be  very  agreable  to  me ; 
indeed  nothing  has  ever  hurt  me  so  much  and  affected  me 
with  such  keen  Sensations,  as  to  find  myself  deserted  in  my 
old  Age  by  my  only  Son ;  and  not  only  deserted,  but  to  find 
him  taking  up  Arms  against  me,  in  a  Cause,  wherein  my  good 
Fame,  Fortune  and  Life  were  all  at  Stake.  You  conceived, 
you  say,  that  your  Duty  to  your  King  and  Regard  for  your 
Country  requir'd  this.  I  ought  not  to  blame  you  for  differing 
in  Sentiment  with  me  in  Public  Affairs.  We  are  Men,  all 
subject  to  Errors.  Our  Opinions  are  not  in  our  own  Power; 
they  are  form'd  and  govern'd  much  by  Circumstances,  that 
are  often  as  inexplicable  as  they  are  irresistible.  Your 
Situation  was  such  that  few  would  have  censured  your  re- 
maining Neuter,  tho1  there  are  Natural  Duties  which  precede 
political  ones,  and  cannot  be  extinguished  by  them. 

This  is  a  disagreable  Subject.  I  drop  it.  And  we  will 
endeavour,  as  you  propose  mutually  to  forget  what  has 
happened  relating  to  it,  as  well  as  we  can.  I  send  your 
Son  over  to  pay  his  Duty  to  you.  You  will  find  him  much 
improv'd.  He  is  greatly  esteem'd  and  belov'd  in  this  Coun- 
try, and  will  make  his  Way  anywhere.  It  is  my  Desire,  that 


1784]  TO   WILLIAM  FRANKLIN  253 

he  should  study  the  Law,  as  a  necessary  Part  of  Knowledge 
for  a  public  Man,  and  profitable  if  he  should  have  occasion 
to  practise  it.  I  would  have  you  therefore  put  into  his  hands 
those  Law-books  you  have,  viz.  Blackstone,  Coke,  Bacon, 
Viner,  &c.  He  will  inform  you,  that  he  received  the  Letter 
sent  him  by  Mr.  Galloway,  and  the  Paper  it  enclosed,  safe. 

On  my  leaving  America,  I  deposited  with  that  Friend  for 
you,  a  Chest  of  Papers,  among  which  was  a  Manuscript  of 
nine  or  ten  Volumes,  relating  to  Manufactures,  Agriculture, 
Commerce,  Finance,  etc.,  which  cost  me  in  England  about 
70  Guineas;  eight  Quire  Books,  containing  the  Rough 
Drafts  of  all  my  Letters  while  I  liv'd  in  London.  These  are 
missing.  I  hope  you  have  got  them,  if  not,  they  are  lost.  Mr. 
Vaughan  has  publish'd  in  London  a  Volume  of  what  he  calls 
my  Political  Works.  He  proposes  a  second  Edition;  but, 
as  the  first  was  very  incompleat,  and  you  had  many  Things 
that  were  omitted,  (for  I  used  to  send  you  sometimes  the 
Rough  Drafts,  and  sometimes  the  printed  Pieces  I  wrote  in 
London,)  I  have  directed  him  to  apply  to  you  for  what  may  be 
in  your  Power  to  furnish  him  with,  or  to  delay  his  Publica- 
tion till  I  can  be  at  home  again,  if  that  may  ever  happen. 

I  did  intend  returning  this  year;  but  the  Congress,  instead 
of  giving  me  Leave  to  do  so,  have  sent  me  another  Commission, 
which  will  keep  me  here  at  least  a  Year  longer ;  and  perhaps 
I  may  then  be  too  old  and  feeble  to  bear  the  Voyage.  I  am 
here  among  a  People  that  love  and  respect  me,  a  most  amiable 
Nation  to  live  with;  and  perhaps  I  may  conclude  to  die 
among  them ;  for  my  Friends  hi  America  are  dying  off,  one 
after  another,  and  I  have  been  so  long  abroad,  that  I  should 
now  be  almost  a  Stranger  in  my  own  Country. 

I  shall  be  glad  to  see  you  when  convenient,  but  would  not 


254       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

have  you  come  here  at  present.  You  may  confide  to  your 
son  the  Family  Affairs  you  wished  to  confer  upon  with  me, 
for  he  is  discreet.  And  I  trust,  that  you  will  prudently  avoid 
introducing  him  to  Company,  that  it  may  be  improper  for 
him  to  be  seen  with.  I  shall  hear  from  you  by  him  and  any 
letters  to  me  afterwards,  will  come  safe  under  Cover  directed 
to  Mr.  Ferdinand  Grand,  Banker  at  Paris.  Wishing  you 
Health,  and  more  Happiness  than  it  seems  you  have  lately 
experienced,  I  remain  your  affectionate  father, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1523.    TO   RICHARD   PRICE  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  August  16,  1784. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  some  time  since  answered  your  kind  Letter  of  July  12, 
returning  the  Proof  of  Mr.  Turgot's  Letter,  with  the  Per- 
mission of  his  Friends  to  print  it.  I  hope  it  came  safe  to 
hand.  I  had  before  received  yours  of  April  6,1  which  gave 
me  great  Pleasure,  as  it  acquainted  me  with  your  Welfare, 
and  that  of  Dr.  Priestley. 

The  Commencement  here  of  the  Art  of  Flying  will,  as  you 
observe,  be  a  new  Epoch.  The  Construction  and  Manner  of 
Filling  the  Balloons  improves  daily.  Some  of  the  Artists 
have  lately  gone  to  England.  It  will  be  well  for  your  Philoso- 
phers to  obtain  from  them  what  they  know,  or  you  will  be 
behindhand;  which  in  mechanic  Operations  is  unusual  for 
Englishmen. 

I  hope  the  Disagreements  in  our  Royal  Society  are  com- 
posed. Quarrels  often  disgrace  both  Sides;  and  Disputes 

1  Both  of  these  letters,  April  6  and  July  12,  are  in  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  RICHARD  PRICE  255 

even  on  small  Matters  often  produce  Quarrels  for  want  of 
knowing  how  to  differ  decently;  an  Art  which  it  is  said 
scarce  anybody  possesses  but  yourself  and  Dr.  Priestley. 

I  had  indeed  Thoughts  of  visiting  England  once  more,  and 
of  enjoying  the  great  Pleasure  of  seeing  again  my  Friends 
there ;  but  my  Malady,  otherwise  tolerable,  is  I  find  irritated 
by  Motion  in  a  Carriage  and  I  fear  the  Consequence  of  such  a 
Journey ;  yet  I  am  not  quite  resolv'd  against  it.  I  often  think 
of  the  agreable  Evenings  I  used  to  pass  with  that  excellent 
Collection  of  good  Men,  the  Club  at  the  London,  and  wish  to 
be  again  among  them.  Perhaps  I  may  pop  in  some  Thursday 
evening  when  they  least  expect  me.  You  may  well  believe  it 
very  pleasing  to  me  to  have  Dr.  Priestley  associated  with  me 
among  the  Foreign  Members  of  the  Academy  of  Sciences.  I 
had  mention'd  him  upon  every  Vacancy,  that  has  happen'd 
since  my  Residence  here,  and  the  Place  has  never  been 
bestow'd  more  worthily. 

When  you  wrote  the  Letter  I  am  now  answering,  your 
Nation  was  involv'd  in  the  Confusion  of  your  new  Election. 
When  I  think  of  your  present  crazy  Constitution  and  its 
Diseases,  I  imagine  the  enormous  Emoluments  of  Place  to  be 
among  the  greatest;  and,  while  they  exist,  I  doubt  whether 
even  the  Reform  of  your  Representation  will  cure  the  Evils 
constantly  arising  from  your  perpetual  Factions.  As  it 
seems  to  be  a  settled  Point  at  present,  that  the  Minister  must 
govern  the  Parliament,  who  are  to  do  every  thing  he  would 
have  done ;  and  he  is  to  bribe  them  to  do  this,  and  the  People 
are  to  furnish  the  Money  to  pay  these  Bribes;  the  Parlia- 
ment appears  to  me  a  very  expensive  Machine  for  Govern- 
ment, and  I  apprehend  the  People  will  find  out  in  time,  that 
they  may  as  well  be  governed,  and  that  it  will  be  much  cheaper 


256       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

to  be  governed,  by  the  Minister  alone;  no  Parliament  being 
preferable  to  the  present. 

Your  Newspapers  are  full  of  fictitious  Accounts  of  Dis- 
tractions in  America.  We  know  nothing  of  them.  Mr. 
Jefferson,  just  arrived  here,  after  a  Journey  thro'  all  the 
States  from  Virginia  to  Boston,  assures  me,  that  all  is  quiet, 
a  general  Tranquility  reigns,  and  the  People  well  satisfy'd 
with  their  present  Forms  of  Government,  a  few  insignificant 
Persons  only  excepted.  These  Accounts  are  I  suppose  in- 
tended as  consolatory,  and  to  discourage  Emigrations.  I 
think  with  you,  that  our  Revolution  is  an  important  Event 
for  the  Advantage  of  Mankind  in  general.  It  is  to  be  hoped 
that  the  Lights  we  enjoy,  which  the  ancient  Governments  in 
their  first  Establishment  could  not  have,  may  preserve  us  from 
their  Errors.  In  this  the  Advice  of  wise  Friends  may  do  us 
much  good,  and  I  am  sure  that  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as 
to  offer  us  will  be  of  great  Service. 

Mr.  Jay  is  gone  to  America ;  but  Mr.  Adams  is  just  arriv'd 
here,  and  I  shall  acquaint  him  with  your  remembrance  of 
him.  Poor  Paradise  *  whom  you  mention  I  respect  and  pity. 
But  there  is  no  helping  him.  He  seems  calculated  by  Nature 
for  Unhappiness  and  will  be  equally  miserable  whether  with 
or  without  his  wife,2  having  no  firmness  of  Mind.  I  doubt  his 

1  John  Paradise  (1743-1795),  born  at  Salonica  (Macedonia),  son  of  the 
English  consul  at  that  place,  was  an  extraordinary  linguist  and  one  of  Dr. 
Johnson's  friends  and  a  mourner  at  his  funeral.  —  ED. 

2  Paradise  married  "  a  beautiful  and  lively  American  "  whose  ungovernable 
temper  was  the  talk  of  the  town.     See  Fanny  Burney,  "  Diary  and  Letters," 
Vol.  II,  pp.  116-122.     The  property  in  Virginia  was  hers  and  she  retired 
there  after  her  husband's  death.     Price  wrote  to  Franklin,  "the  folly,  ill- 
temper  and  extravagance  of  his  [Paradise's]  wife  produced  for  some  weeks  a 
Separation  between  him  and  her,  and  made  him  one  of  the  most  unhappy  men 
I  ever  saw."  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  WEST  257 

Property  in  Virginia  may  suffer  by  his  Irresolution.  Many 
Thanks  for  your  kind  Wishes  respecting  my  Health  and  Hap- 
piness, which  I  return  fourfold,  being  ever  with  the  sincerest 
Esteem,  my  dear  Friend,  yours  most  affectionately 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1524.    TO    BENJAMIN   WEST l          (p.  c.) 

Passy,  Aug.  17,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  forget  whether  I  answered  in  its  time  your  kind  letter  by 
Mr.  Dagge.  I  have  it  now  before  me,  and  there  will  be  no 
harm  in  answering  it  twice.  It  gave  me  great  Pleasure,  as 
it  inform'd  me  of  the  Welfare  of  a  Family  I  so  much  esteem 
and  love,  and  that  my  Godson  is  a  promising  Boy.  I  wish 
much  to  see  you  all  once  more.  The  Malady  I  have,  tho' 
otherwise  tolerable,  prevents  my  using  a  Carriage,  and  so 
discourages  the  Journey.  If  I  grow  better,  and  I  do  think 
I  am  mending,  possibly  I  may  undertake  it  before  I  go  to 
America.  You  can  tell  me  whether  my  Appearance  in  Lon- 
don may  not  be  offensive  to  some  whom  I  ought  not  and  do 
not  desire  to  offend  any  farther.  I  am  glad  to  hear  that  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Aufrere  are  well,  and  preserve  me  in  their  kind 
Remembrance.2  They  are  Persons  that  I  very  much  esteem 
and  respect.  They  had  an  amiable  Daughter  who  was  mar- 
ried before  I  left  England.  Is  she  well,  and  has  she  Children  ? 
This  will  be  delivered  to  you  by  my  Grandson  who  respects 

1  From    the    original    in   the   autograph   collection   of  Mr.    John   Boyd 
Thacher.  —  ED. 

2  Anthony  Aufrere  of  Hoveton  Hall,  Norfolk,  who  married  Anna,  only 
daughter  of  John  Norris  of  Witton  in  Norfolk,  and  sister  of  John  Norris, 
founder  of  the  Norrisian  professorship  at  Cambridge.  —  ED. 

VOL.  IX — s 


258       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

you  infinitely.    My  Love  to  Raphael  and  my  Godson.    I 
shall  be  glad  to  see  Raphael1  here,  and  would  have  him  come 
at  the  Time  of  the  Salon.     Embrace  Betsey 2  for  me  most 
affectionately,  and  believe  me  ever,  my  dear  Friend, 
Yours  sincerely 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1525.    TO   LORD  HOWE  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Augt  18.,  1784. 

MY  LORD, 

I  received  lately  the  very  valuable  Voyage  of  the  late  Cap- 
tain Cook,  kindly  sent  to  me  by  your  Lordship  in  considera- 
tion of  my  Good- will  in  issuing  Orders  towards  the  protec- 
tion of  that  illustrious  Discoverer  from  any  Interruption  in  his 
Return  home  by  American  Cruisers.  The  Reward  vastly 
exceeds  the  small  Merit  of  the  Action,  which  was  no  more  than 
a  Duty  to  Mankind.  I  am  very  sensible  of  his  Majesty's 
Goodness  in  permitting  this  Favour  to  me,  and  I  desire  that 
my  thankful  acknowledgements  may  be  accepted.  With 
great  Respect,  I  am,  my  Lord,  your  Lordship's  most  obedient 
and  most  humble  servant, 

B.   FRANKLIN.8 

1  Raphael  Lamar  West  (1769-1850),  the  elder  of  Benjamin  West's  two 
sons.  —  ED. 

2  Mrs.  West,  nee  Elizabeth  Shewell.—  ED. 

3  A  gold  medal  was  struck  by  order  of  the  Royal  Society,  with  particular 
reference  to  the  protection  afforded  to  Captain  Cook's  vessels  by  the  Emperor 
of  Russia  and  the  King  of  France.     The  Society  bestowed  upon  Dr.  Franklin 
a  compliment  similar  to  the  King's,  by  presenting  to  him  one  of  these  medals. 
—  S. 


1784]  TO   WILLIAM  STRAHAN  259 

1526.    TO  WILLIAM  STRAHAN        (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Aug*  i9-th  1784. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  Ap1  i7th.  You  will  have 
the  goodness  to  place  my  delay  in  answering  to  the  Account 
of  Indisposition  and  Business,  and  excuse  it.  I  have  now  that 
letter  before  me;  and  my  Grandson,  whom  you  may  formerly 
remember  a  little  Scholar  of  Mr.  Elphinston's,  purposing  to 
set  out  in  a  day  or  two  on  a  visit  to  his  Father  in  London, 
I  set  down  to  scribble  a  little  to  you,  first  recommending  him 
as  a  worthy  young  Man  to  your  Civilities  and  Counsels. 

You  press  me  much  to  come  to  England.  I  am  not  with- 
out strong  Inducements  to  do  so;  the  Fund  of  Knowledge 
you  promise  to  Communicate  to  me  is  an  Addition  to  them, 
and  no  small  one.  At  present  it  is  impracticable.  But, 
when  my  Grandson  returns,  come  with  him.  We  will  then 
talk  the  matter  over,  and  perhaps  you  may  take  me  back  with 
you.  I  have  a  Bed  at  your  service,  and  will  try  to  make  your 
Residence,  while  you  can  stay  with  us,  as  agreable  to  you,  if 
possible,  as  I  am  sure  it  will  be  to  me. 

You  do  not  " approve  the  annihilation  of  profitable  Places; 
for  you  do  not  see  why  a  Statesman,  who  does  his  Business 
well,  should  not  be  paid  for  his  Labour  as  well  as  any  other 
Workman."  Agreed.  But  why  more  than  any  other  Work- 
man? The  less  the  Salary  the  greater  the  Honor.  In  so 
great  a  Nation,  there  are  many  rich  enough  to  afford  giving 
their  time  to  the  Public;  and  there  are,  I  make  no  doubt, 
many  wise  and  able  Men,  who  would  take  as  much  Pleasure 


260        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN-  FRANKLIN    [1784 

in  governing  for  nothing,  as  they  do  in  playing  Chess  for 
nothing.  It  would  be  one  of  the  noblest  of  Amusements. 
That  this  Opinion  is  not  Chimerical,  the  Country  I  now  live 
in  affords  a  Proof ;  its  whole  Civil  and  Criminal  Law  Admin- 
istration being  done  for  nothing,  or  in  some  sense  for  less  than 
nothing;  since  the  Members  of  its  Judiciary  Parliaments 
buy  their  Places,  and  do  not  make  more  than  three  per  cent 
for  their  Money  by  their  Fees  and  Emoluments,  while  the 
legal  Interest  is  five;  so  that  in  Fact  they  give  two  per  cent 
to  be  allow'd  to  govern,  and  all  their  time  and  trouble  into  the 
Bargain.  Thus  Profit,  one  Motive  for  desiring  Place,  being 
abolish'd,  there  remains  only  Ambition;  and  that  being  in 
some  degree  ballanced  by  Loss,  you  may  easily  conceive, 
that  there  will  not  be  very  violent  Factions  and  Contentions 
for  such  Places,  nor  much  of  the  Mischief  to  the  Country, 
that  attends  your  Factions,  which  have  often  occasioned 
Wars,  and  overloaded  you  with  Debts  impayable. 

I  allow  you  all  the  Force  of  your  Joke  upon  the  Vagrancy 
of  our  Congress.  They  have  a  right  to  sit  where  they  please, 
of  which  perhaps  they  have  made  too  much  Use  by  shifting 
too  often.  But  they  have  two  other  Rights ;  those  of  sitting 
when  they  please,  and  as  long  as  they  please,  in  which 
methinks  they  have  the  advantage  of  your  Parliament;  for 
they  cannot  be  dissolved  by  the  Breath  of  a  Minister,  or  sent 
packing  as  you  were  the  other  day,  when  it  was  your  earnest 
desire  to  have  remained  longer  together. 

You  "fairly  acknowledge,  that  the  late  War  terminated 
quite  contrary  to  your  Expectation."  Your  expectation  was 
ill  founded ;  for  you  would  not  believe  your  old  Friend,  who 
told  you  repeatedly,  that  by  those  Measures  England  would 
lose  her  Colonies,  as  Epictetus  warned  in  vain  his  Master  that 


I784]  TO    WILLIAM  STRAHAN  261 

he  would  break  his  Leg.  You  believ'd  rather  the  Tales  you 
heard  of  our  Poltroonery  and  Impotence  of  Body  and  Mind. 
Do  you  not  remember  the  Story  you  told  me  of  the  Scotch 
sergeant,  who  met  with  a  Party  of  Forty  American  Soldiers, 
and,  tho'  alone,  disarm'd  them  all,  and  brought  them  in 
Prisoners?  A  Story  almost  as  Improbable  as  that  of  the 
Irishman,  who  pretended  to  have  alone  taken  and  brought 
in  Five  of  the  enemy  by  surrounding  them.  And  yet,  my 
Friend,  sensible  and  Judicious  as  you  are,  but  partaking  of 
the  general  Infatuation,  you  seemed  to  believe  it. 

The  Word  general  puts  me  in  mind  of  a  General,  your 
General  Clarke,  who  had  the  Folly  to  say  in  my  hearing  at 
Sir  John  Pringle's,  that,  with  a  Thousand  British  grenadiers, 
he  would  undertake  to  go  from  one  end  of  America  to  the 
other,  and  geld  all  the  Males,  partly  by  force  and  partly  by  a 
little  Coaxing.  It  is  plain  he  took  us  for  a  species  of  Animals 
very  little  superior  to  Brutes.  The  Parliament  too  believ'd 
the  stories  of  another  foolish  General,  I  forget  his  Name,  that 
the  Yankeys  never  jell  bold.  Yankey  was  understood  to  be  a 
sort  of  Yahoo,  and  the  Parliament  did  not  think  the  Petitions 
of  such  Creatures  were  fit  to  be  received  and  read  in  so  wise 
an  Assembly.  What  was  the  consequence  of  this  monstrous 
Pride  and  Insolence  ?  You  first  sent  small  Armies  to  subdue 
us,  believing  them  more  than  sufficient,  but  soon  found  your- 
selves obliged  to  send  greater ;  these,  whenever  they  ventured 
to  penetrate  our  Country  beyond  the  Protection  of  their  Ships, 
were  either  repulsed  and  obliged  to  scamper  out,  or  were 
surrounded,  beaten,  and  taken  Prisoners.  An  American 
Planter,  who  had  never  seen  Europe,  was  chosen  by  us  to 
Command  our  Troops,  and  continued  during  the  whole  War. 
This  Man  sent  home  to  you,  one  after  another,  five  of  your 


262        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

best  Generals  baffled,  their  Heads  bare  of  Laurels,  disgraced 
even  in  the  Opinion  of  their  Employers. 

Your  contempt  of  our  Understandings,  in  Comparison  with 
your  own,  appeared  to  be  not  much  better  founded  than  that 
of  our  Courage,  if  we  may  judge  by  this  Circumstance,  that, 
in  whatever  Court  of  Europe  a  Yankey  negociator  appeared, 
the  wise  British  Minister  was  routed,  put  in  a  passion,  pick'd 
a  quarrel  with  your  Friends,  and  was  sent  home  with  a  Flea 
in  his  Ear. 

But  after  all,  my  dear  Friend,  do  not  imagine  that  I  am 
vain  enough  to  ascribe  our  Success  to  any  superiority  in  any 
of  those  Points.  I  am  too  well  acquainted  with  all  the 
Springs  and  Levers  of  our  Machine,  not  to  see,  that  our  human 
means  were  unequal  to  our  undertaking,  and  that,  if  it  had  not 
been  for  the  Justice  of  our  Cause,  and  the  consequent  Inter- 
position of  Providence,  in  which  we  had  Faith,  we  must  have 
been  ruined.  If  I  had  ever  before  been  an  Atheist,  I  should 
now  have  been  convinced  of  the  Being  and  Government  of  a 
Deity !  It  is  he  who  abases  the  Proud  and  favours  the  Hum- 
ble. May  we  never  forget  his  Goodness  to  us,  and  may  our 
future  Conduct  manifest  our  Gratitude. 

But  let  us  leave  these  serious  Reflections  and  converse  with 
our  usual  Pleasantry.  I  remember  your  observing  once  to  me 
as  we  sat  together  in  the  House  of  Commons,  that  no  two 
Journeymen  Printers,  within  your  Knowledge,  had  met  with 
such  Success  in  the  World  as  ourselves.  You  were  then  at 
the  head  of  your  Profession,  and  soon  afterwards  became  a 
Member  of  Parliament.  I  was  an  Agent  for  a  few  Provinces, 
and  now  act  for  them  all.  But  we  have  risen  by  different 
Modes.  I,  as  a  Republican  Printer,  always  liked  a  Form  well 
plain* d  down;  being  averse  to  those  overbearing  Letters  that 


1784]  TO   WILLIAM  STRAHAN  263 

hold  their  Heads  so  high,  as  to  hinder  their  Neighbours  from 
appearing.  You,  as  a  Monarchist,  chose  to  work  upon 
Crown  Paper,  and  found  it  profitable;  while  I  work'd  upon 
pro  patria  (often  indeed  calPd  Fools  Cap)  with  no  less  advan- 
tage. Both  our  Heaps  hold  out  very  well,  and  we  seem  likely 
to  make  a  pretty  good  day's  Work  of  it.  With  regard  to  Public 
Affairs  (to  continue  in  the  same  stile),  it  seems  to  me  that  the 
Compositors  in  your  Chapel  do  not  cast  off  their  Copy  well, 
nor  perfectly  understand  Imposing;  their  Forms,  too,  are 
continually  pester'd  by  the  Outs  and  Doubles,  that  are  not 
easy  to  be  corrected.  And  I  think  they  were  wrong  in  laying 
aside  some  Faces,  and  particularly  certain  Head-pieces,  that 
would  have  been  both  useful  and  ornamental.  But,  Courage  ! 
The  Business  may  still  flourish  with  good  Management ;  and 
the  Master  become  as  rich  as  any  of  the  Company. 

By  the  way,  the  rapid  Growth  and  extension  of  the  English 
language  in  America,  must  become  greatly  Advantageous  to 
the  booksellers,  and  holders  of  Copy- Rights  in  England.  A 
vast  audience  is  assembling  there  for  English  Authors,  an- 
cient, present,  and  future,  our  People  doubling  every  twenty 
Years;  and  this  will  demand  large  and  of  course  profitable 
Impressions  of  your  most  valuable  Books.  I  would,  therefore, 
if  I  possessed  such  rights,  entail  them,  if  such  a  thing  be  prac- 
ticable, upon  my  Posterity ;  for  their  Worth  will  be  continu- 
ally augmenting.  This  may  look  a  little  like  Advice,  and  yet 
I  have  drank  no  Madeira  these  Ten  Months. 

The  Subject,  however,  leads  me  to  another  Thought, 
which  is,  that  you  do  wrong  to  discourage  the  Emigration 
of  Englishmen  to  America.  In  my  piece  on  Population,  I 
have  proved,  I  think,  that  Emigration  does  not  diminish  but 
multiplies  a  Nation.  You  will  not  have  fewer  at  home  for 


264       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

those  that  go  Abroad ;  and  as  every  Man  who  comes  among 
us,  and  takes  up  a  piece  of  Land,  becomes  a  Citizen,  and  by 
our  Constitution  has  a  Voice  in  Elections,  and  a  share  in  the 
Government  of  the  Country,  why  should  you  be  against  ac- 
quiring by  this  fair  Means  a  Repossession  of  it,  and  leave  it 
to  be  taken  by  Foreigners  of  all  Nations  and  Languages,  who 
by  their  Numbers  may  drown  and  stifle  the  English,  which 
otherwise  would  probably  become  in  the  course  of  two  Cen- 
turies the  most  extensive  Language  in  the  World,  the  Spanish 
only  excepted?  It  is  a  Fact,  that  the  Irish  emigrants  and 
their  children  are  now  in  Possession  of  the  Government  of 
Pennsylvania,  by  their  Majority  in  the  Assembly,  as  well  as 
of  a  great  Part  of  the  Territory;  and  I  remember  well  the 
first  Ship  that  brought  any  of  them  over.  I  am  ever,  my  dear 
Friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1527.    TO   GEORGE  WHATLEY        (L.  c.) 

Passy,  Augt  21,  1784. 

MY  DEAR  OLD  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  May  3d,  1783.  I  am 
ashamed  that  it  has  been  so  long  unanswered.  The  Indo- 
lence of  Old  Age,  frequent  Indisposition,  and  too  much 
Business  are  my  only  Excuses.  I  had  great  pleasure  in 
reading  it,  as  it  informed  me  of  your  Welfare. 

Your  excellent  little  Work,  The  Principles  of  Trade,  is  too 
little  known.  I  wish  you  would  send  me  a  Copy  of  it  by  the 
Return  of  my  Grandson  and  Secretary,  whom  I  beg  leave 
to  Recommend  to  your  Civilities.  I  would  get  it  translated 
and  printed  here,  And  if  your  Bookseller  has  any  quantity 


1784]  TO  GEORGE  WHATLEY  265 

of  them  left,  I  should  be  glad  he  would  send  them  to  America. 
The  Ideas  of  our  People  there,  tho'  rather  better  than  those 
that  prevail  in  Europe,  are  not  so  good  as  they  should  be; 
and  that  Piece  might  be  of  service  among  them. 

Since  and  soon  after  the  Date  of  your  letter,  we  lost  unac- 
countably, as  well  as  unfortunately,  that  worthy,  valuable 
young  Man  you  mention,  your  namesake,  Maddison.  He 
was  infinitely  regretted  by  all  that  knew  him. 

I  am  sorry  your  favorite  Chanty l  does  not  go  on  as  you  could 
wish  it.  It  is  shrunk  indeed  by  your  admitting  only  60  chil- 
dren a  year.  What  you  have  told  your  brethren  respecting 
America  is  true.  If  you  find  it  difficult  to  dispose  of  your 
Children  in  England,  it  looks  as  if  you  had  too  many  people. 
And  yet  you  are  afraid  of  Emigration.  A  Subscription  is 
lately  set  on  foot  here  to  encourage  and  assist  Mothers  in 
Nursing  their  Infants  themselves  at  home;  the  Practice  of 
sending  them  to  the  Enjants  trouves  having  risen  here  to  a 
monstrous  Excess,  as,  by  the  annual  Bill,  it  appears  they 
amount  to  near  one  Third  of  the  Children  born  in  Paris ! 
The  Subscription  is  likely  to  succeed,  and  may  do  a  great 
deal  of  good,  tho'  it  cannot  answer  all  the  purposes  of  a  Found- 
ling Hospital. 

Your  Eyes  must  continue  very  good,  since  you  can  write  so 
small  a  Hand  without  Spectacles.  I  cannot  distinguish  a 
Letter  even  of  Large  Print ;  but  am  happy  in  the  invention  of 
Double  Spectacles,  which,  serving  for  distant  objects  as  well 
as  near  ones,  make  my  Eyes  as  useful  to  me  as  ever  they  were. 
If  all  the  other  Defects  and  Infirmities  were  as  easily  and 
cheaply  remedied,  it  would  be  worth  while  for  Friends  to  live 
a  good  deal  longer,  but  I  look  upon  Death  to  be  as  necessary 

1  The  Foundling  Hospital,  of  which  Mr.  Whatley  was  the  Treasurer.  — ED. 


266       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

to  our  Constitution  as  Sleep.  We  shall  rise  refreshed  in  the 
Morning.  Adieu,  and  believe  me  ever  yours  most  affec- 
tionately, 

B.  F[RANKLIN]. 


1528.    TO    JOSEPH   PRIESTLEY        (i.  c.) 

Passy,  Augt  21,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

Understanding  that  my  Letter  intended  for  you  by  General 
Melvill,1  was  lost  at  the  H6tel  d'Espagne,  I  take  this  Oppor- 
tunity by  my  Grandson  to  give  you  the  purport  of  it,  as  well 
as  I  can  recollect.  I  thank'd  you  for  the  Pleasure  you  had 
procured  me  of  the  General's  Conversation,  whom  I  found  a 
judicious,  sensible,  and  amiable  Man.  I  was  glad  to  hear 
that  you  possess'd  a  comfortable  Retirement,  and  more  so  that 
you  had  Thoughts  of  removing  to  Philadelphia,  for  that  it 
would  make  me  very  happy  to  have  you  there.  Your  Com- 
panions would  be  very  acceptable  to  the  Library,  but  I  hoped 
you  would  long  live  to  enjoy  their  Company  yourself.  I 
agreed  with  you  in  Sentiments  concerning  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, and  thought  the  Clause  in  our  Constitution,  which 
required  the  Members  of  Assembly  to  declare  their  belief, 
that  the  whole  0}  it  was  given  by  divine  Inspiration,  had  better 
have  been  omitted.  That  I  had  opposed  the  Clause;  but, 
being  overpower'd  by  Numbers,  and  fearing  more  might  in 
future  Times  be  grafted  on  it,  I  prevailed  to  have  the  addi- 
tional Clause,  "that  no  farther  or  more  extended  Profession 
of  Faith  should  ever  be  exacted."  I  observed  to  you  too,  that 

1  Robert  Melville  (1723-1809),  general  and  antiquary,  inventor  of  the 
"Carronades."  — ED. 


1784]  TO  JOSEPH  PRIESTLEY  267 

the  Evil  of  it  was  the  less,  as  no  Inhabitant,  nor  any  Officer 
of  Government,  except  the  Members  of  Assembly,  were 
oblig'd  to  make  that  Declaration. 

So  much  for  that  Letter;  to  which  I  may  now  add,  that 
there  are  several  Things  in  the  Old  Testament,  impossible 
to  be  given  by  divine  Inspiration;  such  as  the  Approbation 
ascribed  to  the  Angel  of  the  Lord,  of  that  abominably  wicked 
and  detestable  Action  of  Jael,  the  wife  of  Heber,  the  Kenite.1 
If  the  rest  of  the  Book  were  like  that,  I  should  rather  suppose 
it  given  by  Inspiration  from  another  Quarter,  and  renounce 
the  whole. 

By  the  way,  how  goes  on  the  Unitarian  Church  in  Essex 
Street?  And  the  honest  Minister  of  it,2  is  he  comfortably 
supported  ?  Your  old  Colleague,  Mr.  Radcliff ,  is  he  living  ? 
And  what  became  of  Mr.  Denham  ? 

My  Grandson,  who  will  have  the  honour  of  delivering  this 
to  you,  may  bring  me  a  Line  from  you ;  and  I  hope  will  bring 
me  an  Account  of  your  continuing  well  and  happy. 

I  jog  on  still,  with  as  much  Health,  and  as  few  of  the 
Infirmities  of  old  Age,  as  I  have  any  Reason  to  expect.  But 
whatever  is  impair'd  in  my  Constitution,  my  Regard  for  my 
old  Friends  remains  firm  and  entire.  You  will  always  have 
a  good  Share  of  it,  for  I  am  ever  with  great  and  sincere 
esteem,  dear  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  Judges,  chap.  iv. 

2  Theophilus  Lindsey  (1723-1808),  named  after  Theophilus,  Earl  of  Hunt- 
ingdon, his  godfather.     His  friends  built  for  him  the  chapel  in  Essex  Street, 
opened   in  March,  1778.      He  published  in  1784  "Vindiciae  Priestleyana." 
-ED. 


268       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

1529.     TO  WILLIAM  TEMPLE  FRANKLIN  (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Aug*  25.  1784.     Wednesday. 
MY  DEAR  CHILD, 

Nothing  very  material  has  happened  since  you  left  us. 
The  D.  of  Dorset  calFd  yesterday,  and  enquired  if  I  had 
heard  from  you,  supposing  you  had  been  gone  a  Week.  Mr. 
Adams  &  Family,  Mad6  Dandelot  and  other  Friends  have 
visited  me ;  &  Mad?  Saurin  who  is  return'd  from  England. 
We  din'd  with  her  yesterday.  She  says  Made.  D'hauteville 
will  be  glad  to  see  you  in  England,  wishes  you  would  call 
upon  her,  and  has  given- me  her  Address,  which  I  enclose. 
We  dine,  Ben  &  I,  today  with  M.  de  Chaumont,  &  Satur- 
day with  Mr.  Adams. 

The  Report i  is  publish'd  and  makes  a  great  deal  of  Talk. 
Everybody  agrees  that  it  is  well  written;  but  many  wonder 
at  the  Force  of  Imagination  describ'd  in  it,  as  occasioning 
Convulsions  &c.  and  some  fear  that  Consequences  may  be 
drawn  from  it  by  Infidels  to  weaken  our  Faith  in  some  of  the 
Miracles  of  the  New  Testament.  I  send  you  two  more  Copies. 
You  would  do  well  to  give  one  to  the  French  Ambassador, 
if  he  has  not  had  it.  Some  think  it  will  put  an  End  to  Mes- 
merism. But  there  is  a  wonderful  deal  of  Credulity  in  the 
World,  and  Deceptions  as  absurd,  have  supported  themselves 
for  Ages. 

I  send  you  a  few  more  Letters,  and  am 

Your  affectionate  Grandfather, 
B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.    Mrs.  Holt,  Printer  to  the  State  in  New  York,  is 

1  Report  of  the  Commission  for  the  investigation  of  Mesmerism.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  269 

punctual  since  her  Husband's  Death,  in  sending  me  News 
Papers  by  every  Packet.  At  the  Entrance  of  the  Exchange 
is  a  little  shop  where  they  sell  all  the  London's  Newspapers. 
I  would  have  you  buy  a  few  of  the  latest  and  send  to  her, 
and  let  her  know  it  is  by  my  Order.  You  will  find  a  Bag  up 
in  the  New  York  Coffee-House,  in  which  you  can  put  the 
Packet  directed  to  her. 


1530.    TO   COMTE   DE  VERGENNES l 
SlR  Passy,  September  3,  1784. 

I  have  the  honour  to  transmit  to  your  Excellency,  by  order 
of  Congress,  a  resolution  of  theirs,  dated  the  nth  of  May 
last,  which  is  in  the  words  following,  viz. 

"  Resolved,  That  Dr.  Franklin  be  instructed  to  express  to  the  court  of 
France,  the  constant  desire  of  Congress  to  meet  their  wishes  ;  that  these 
States  are  about  to  form  a  general  system  of  commerce,  by  treaties  with  other 
nations  ;  that,  at  this  time,  they  cannot  foresee  what  claim  might  be  given 
to  those  nations  by  the  explanatory  propositions  from  the  Count  de  Vergennes, 
on  the  second  and  third  articles  of  our  Treaty  of  Amity  and  Commerce  with 
His  Most  Christian  Majesty,  but  that  he  may  be  assured  it  will  be  our  con- 
stant care  to  place  no  people  on  more  advantageous  ground  than  the  subjects 
of  his  Majesty." 

With  great  respect,  I  am,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1531.    TO   BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  (L.  c.) 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND,  Pass>'  ***•  7' '784' 

This  will  be  delivered  to  you  by  Count  Mirabeau ; 2  son 
of  the  Marquis  of  that  name,  Author  of  UAmi  des  Hommes. 

1  From  "Diplomatic  Revolutionary  Correspondence"  (Sparks),  Vol.  II, 
p.  516.  —  ED. 

2  The  same  who  afterwards  so  eminently  distinguished  himself  by  his  elo- 
quence in  the  early  part  of  the  French  Revolution.  —  \V.  T.  F. 


270        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

This  Gentleman  is  esteemed  here,  and  I  recommend  him 
to  your  Civilities  and  Counsels,  particularly  with  respect  to 
the  Printing  of  a  Piece  he  has  written  on  the  subject  of  heredi- 
tary Nobility,  on  occasion  of  the  Order  of  Cincinnati  lately 
attempted  to  be  established  in  America,  which  cannot  be 
printed  here.  I  find  that  some  of  the  best  Judges  think  it 
extremely  well  written,  with  great  Clearness,  Force,  and 
Elegance.  If  you  can  recommend  him  to  an  honest,  reason- 
able Bookseller,  that  will  undertake  it,  you  will  do  him  Ser- 
vice, and  perhaps  some  to  Mankind,  who  are  too  much 
bigotted  in  many  Countries  to  that  kind  of  imposition. 

I  had  formerly  almost  resolved  to  trouble  you  with  no  more 
letters  of  Recommendation;  but  I  think  you  will  find  this 
Gentleman  to  possess  Talents,  that  may  render  his  acquaint- 
ance agreable.  With  sincere  Esteem,  I  am  ever,  my  dear 
Friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1532.    TO  W.  T.  FRANKLIN        (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Sept.  8.  1784. 

MY  DEAR  CHILD, 

I  have  receiv'd  no  Line  from  you  since  that  from  Dover. 
I  continue  as  well  as  when  you  left  me.  M.  le  Veillard  is 
much  better  but  still  weak  and  cannot  yet  go  abroad.  The 
rest  of  our  Friends  are  well,  and  often  enquire  after  you.  I 
intended  to  have  sent  you  some  more  Letters ;  but  my  Time 
has  been  all  devour'd  by  Business  and  Visitors.  The  in- 
clos'd  Pacquet  is  from  M.  le  Veillard.  I  have  promis'd  him 
that  you  will  take  care  of  it  and  deliver  it  immediately.  It 
contains  two  Letters  of  Recommendation  wch  I  have  given 


1784]  TO   W.   T.  FRANKLIN  271 

the  Count  *  at  M.  V's  Request,  one  to  Dr.  Price,  the  other  to 
our  Friend  Vaughan.  If  it  should  be  in  your  way  to  show  him 
any  Civilities,  I  would  have  you  do  it.  He  is  a  Man  of  Talents, 
and  his  Father  was  obliging  to  me  when  I  was  formerly  in 
France.  I  have  three  Invitations  to  dine  out  to-day,  with 
Madames  Brillon,  Helvetius,  and  M.  de  Chaumont.  But 
it  is  so  excessively  hot,  that  I  shall  stay  at  home.  We  pro- 
ceed gently  with  our  Business.  The  Newspapers  begin  to 
come  from  Dover,  so  I  would  have  you  stop  &  pay  off  the 
others.  Thank  Mr.  Thomson  in  my  Behalf  when  you  re- 
turn. I  am  ever 

Your  affectionate  Grandfather 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Mesmer  has  complain'd  to  the  Parliament  of  our 
Report,  and  requested  that  they  would  appoint  Commis- 
saries, to  whom  he  might  submit  the  Examination  of — not 
his  Theory  and  Practice,  but  —  un  Plan  qui  renfermera  les 
seuls  moyens  possibles  de  constater  infailliblement  1'exis- 
tence  &  Futilite*  de  sa  decouverte.  The  Petition  was  printed. 
Many  thought  the  Parliament  would  do  nothing  in  it.  But 
they  have  laid  hold  of  it  to  clinch  Mesmer,  and  oblige  him 
to  expose  all  directly.  So  that  it  must  soon  be  seen  whether 
there  is  any  difference  between  his  Art  &  Desler's.  Voici  leur 

[Arret  du  6  7brc  1784.] 

La  Cour  ordonne  qui  par  devant  quatre  Docteurs  de  la 
Faculte*  de  Medecine,  deux  Chirurgiens,  &  deux  Maitres  en 
Pharmacie,  Mesmer  sera  tenu  d'exposer  la  Doctrine  dont  il 
annonce  avoir  fait  la  Decouverte  &  les  procede*s  qu'il  pretend 
devoir  etre  suivis  &  pratique's  pour  en  faire  Le  Application ; 

1  Count  Mirabeau,  see  preceding  letter.  —  ED. 


272       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

dont  sera  dresse*  Proce's  verbal,  pour  celui  communique'  a 
M.  le  Procureur  General,  et  rapporte*  en  la  Cour  e*tre  or- 
donne  ce  qu'il  appartriendra. 


1533.  TO  AN  UNKNOWN  CORRESPONDENT    (L.C.) 

Passy  ce  12  Septembre,  1784 

J'AI  recu  Monsieur,  la  Lettre  que  vous  m'avez  fait  Phon- 
neur  de  m'e'crire  le  8  de  ce  Mois.  Je  suis  bien  sensible  a 
PInteret  que  vous  voulez  bien  prendre  a  ma  Sante*,  et  je  vous 
suis  infiniment  oblige*  ainsi  qu'a  M.  Dubourg;  de  la  Com- 
munication de  votre  Remede  contre  la  Pierres  et  la  Gravelle. 
Ma  Maladie  ayant  £te  [  ]  supportable  j'usqu'a  ce  Jour, 
Je  ne  suis  point  encore  determine  a  faire  usage  d'aucun 
Medicament.  Si  le  Mai  augmentoit  par  la  suite  et  que  Je 
me  visse  oblige*  d'avoir  recours  a  votre  Recette,  Je  me  ferai 
un  Devoir  de  vous  faire  part  du  Succes.  Agre*ez,  Je  vous 
prie,  mes  sinceres  Remercimens  et  les  Sentiment  d'estime  et 
de  Reconnoissance  avec  les  quels  J'ai  Phonneur  d'etre, 
Monsieur, 

Votre  tres  humble  et  tres  obeissant  serviteur. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1534.    TO  W.  T.  FRANKLIN         (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Sept.  13,  1784. 
MY  DEAR  CHILD, 

I  received  last  Night  yours  of  the  f*  &  am  glad  to  hear 
you  are  quit  of  your  Fever.  You  are  well  advis'd  to  continue 
taking  the  Bark.  There  is  an  English  Proverb  that  says, 


1784]  TO   W.    T.   FRANKLIN"  273 

An  Ounce  oj  Prevention  is  worth  a  Pound  of  Cure.  It  is 
particularly  true  with  regard  to  the  Bark  and  an  Intermit- 
tent.— 

I  consent  to  your  going  with  your  Father,  and  to  your 
Stay  in  England  until  the  Middle  of  October. 

Don't  omit  writing  to  me  by  every  Post.  The  uncertain 
State  of  your  Health  makes  me  more  anxious  to  hear  from 
you. 

I  wrote  to  you  that  I  had  not  suffer'd  by  going  in  a  Carriage 
to  Auteuil.  I  afterwards  had  reason  to  think  otherwise, 
tho'  it  was  not  much.  It  has  however  discourag'd  my  re- 
peating the  Experiment.  The  Swedish  Ambassador  has 
press'd  me  much  to  dine  this  day  with  him  &  Prince  Henry, 
but  I  thought  myself  oblig'd  to  refuse  him.  I  walk'd  how- 
ever to  Auteuil  on  Saturday  to  dine  with  Mr.  A.1  &c.  with 
whom  I  go  on  comfortably.  — 

I  have  procur'd  a  Sauj  Conduit  for  B.  and  he  leaves  us 
to-morrow.  Mr.  W"  will  supply  his  Place. 

Your  Room-Floor  was  all  taken  up,  the  Timbers  being 
found  so  rotten  that  one  might  crumble  them  between  the 
Fingers.  New  ones  are  laid  in  Mortar,  and  the  whole  left  open 
to  dry  before  the  Boards  are  replaced.  As  your  Stay  will  be 
longer,  we  may  give  more  time  for  the  Drying,  to  prevent  your 
being  incommoded  with  any  remaining  Dampness. 

Get  me  a  Book  called  Miscellanies  by  Daines  Barrington, 
Esqr.3 

Give  my  Love  to  your  Father. 

Remember  me  affectionately  to  all  enquiring  Friends. 

I  am  your  loving  Grandfather 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  John  Adams.  —  ED. 

2  Daines  Barrington  (1727-1800),  "Miscellanies"  (1781).  — ED. 

VOL.  IX— T 


274        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

M  &  Madm  Brillon  with  whom  I  am  to  Breakfast  this 
Morning,  have  charg'd  me  with  mille  choses  to  say  to  you  on 
their  Behalf.  Ben  sends  his  Love,  &  his  Duty  to  his  Uncle. 

M?  le  Veillard  still  continues  low  &  weak. 


1535.    TO  W.  T.  FRANKLIN         (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Oct.  2.  1784 

DEAR  GRANDSON, 

I  have  not  receiv'd  a  Line  from  you  since  that  of  Sept.  7. 
now  near  a  Month.1  I  have  waited  with  impatience  the 
Arrival  of  every  Post.  —  But  not  a  Word.  —  All  your  Ac- 
quaintance are  continually  enquiring  what  News  from  you. 
—  I  have  none.  Judge  what  I  must  feel,  what  they  must 
think,  and  tell  me  what  I  am  to  think  of  such  Neglect.  I 
must  suppose  it  Neglect :  for  if  your  Fever  had  return'd,  and 
you  were  unable  to  write,  surely  your  Father,  or  somebody 
would  have  inform'd  me  of  it.  —  I  shall  continue  however 
till  this  Conduct  of  yours  is  clear'd  up,  hoping  it  may  be 
explain'd  to  my  Satisfaction, 

Your  affectionate  Grandfather 
B.  F. 

1536.    TO  WILLIAM  CARMICHAEL   (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Oct.  n,  1784 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  have  just  received  the  honour  of  yours  of  the  25th  past,2 
and  shall  communicate  it  as  you  desire  to  my  Colleagues 

1  A  letter  from  W.  T.  Franklin,  dated  September  26,  1784,  is  in  A.  P.  S. 

—ED. 

a  In  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 


1784]  TO   WILLIAM  CARMICHAEL  275 

tomorrow.  I  think  you  did  right  in  Mentioning  to  the 
Minister  the  Nature  of  our  Commission  &c.  In  my  last  I 
sent  you  a  Copy  of  our  Letter  to  the  Count  d'Aranda,  herein 
I  inclose  his  Answer,  in  order  to  keep  you  fully  inform'd  of 
what  passes  in  the  Negociation.  The  Reply  has  not  yet  been 
made,  as  soon  as  it  is,  you  shall  have  that  likewise.  I  am 
glad  to  learn  that  Mf  Gardoqui l  is  sent  to  America.  I  write 
in  much  Pain,  and  cannot  now  add  but  that  I  am  ever,  with 
sincere  Esteem  and  affection, 
Dear  Sir, 

Your  most  obedient 

&  most  humble  Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Oct.  15.  1784. 

Since  writing  the  within,  I  have  been  acquainted  that  Mr 
James  Hartwell2  of  Salem  in  New  England,  being  at  S* 
Sebastian  with  a  Cargo  of  Tobacco,  &  occasionally  going 
from  thence  to  Bilbao,  was  seized  in  the  latter  Place  by  the 
officers  of  the  Inquisition,  some  Months  since,  and  convey'd 
to  Logrone,  being  charged  with  having  three  or  four  years 
ago  embrac'd  the  Catholic  Religion  and  afterwards  quitting 
it.  They  have  also  it  seems  taken  Possession  of  his  Tobacco. 
And  it  is  but  lately,  that  his  Friends  of  Bordeaux  from  whence 
he  went  to  meet  his  Cargo  in  Spain,  have  heard  of  his  Mis- 
fortune. There  are  some  Americans  of  Distinction  here 
that  know  him,  who  say  he  is  of  a  good  Family,  and  bears 
a  good  Character,  but  is  sometimes  a  little  disordered  in  his 

1  M.  Gardoqui,  formerly  consul-general  in  England,  was  appointed  Charge 
d'affaires  to  the  United  States  with  the  commission  of  Minister.  —  ED. 

*  See  letter  to  Carmichael,  March  22, 1785,  and  letter  to  Jonathan  Williams, 
April  13,  1785.  — ED. 


276       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

Mind ;  and  they  are  exceedingly  concern'd  at  his  Situation, 
and  anxious  that  his  Release  should  be  obtained.  My  Col- 
leagues My  Adams  and  Mr  Jefferson  join  with  me  in  stating 
this  Matter  to  you,  and  Requesting  that  you  would  immedi- 
ately take  the  proper  Steps  for  Reclaiming  him  as  a  Subject 
of  the  United  States,  and  procuring  an  order  for  his  Liberty 
and  the  Restitution  of  his  Property.  This  Conduct  of  the 
Holy  office,  if  not  rectified,  may  be  attended  with  bad 
Consequences  to  the  Commerce  &  Friendly  Correspondence 
that  ought  to  be  cultivated  between  the  two  Nations.  — 

Yours  as  ever 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1537.    TO   CHARLES  THOMSON1 

Passy,  October  16,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

It  was  intended  by  the  Commissioners  to  write  a  joint 
letter  to  Congress,  but  I  am  afraid  the  opportunity  may  be 
missed.  This  may  serve  to  inform  you,  that  propositions 
of  treating  have  been  made  by  us  to  all  the  powers  of  Europe 
according  to  our  instructions,  and  we  are  waiting  for  their 
answers.  There  are  apprehensions  here  of  a  war  between 
the  Emperor  and  Holland;  but,  as  the  season  is  not  proper 
for  opening  a  campaign,  I  hope  the  winter  will  give  time  for 
mediators  to  accommodate  matters.  We  have  not  yet  heard 
that  Mr.  Jay  has  accepted  the  secretaryship  of  foreign  affairs. 
I  am  ever,  my  dear  friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  From  "  Diplomatic  Revolutionary  Correspondence  "  (Sparks),  Vol.  II, 
p.  518. —ED. 


1784]  TO   W.   T.  FRANKLIN  277 

1538.    TO  W.  T.   FRANKLIN        (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Oct.  18.  1784. 

MY  DEAR  CHILD, 

I  received  yours  of  the  5th  (just  after  I  had  sent  away 
mine  of  the  2nd).  It  inclosed  one  from  the  good  Bishop  to 
you.  I  have  since  receiv'd  yours  of  the  12th.  I  am  glad  to 
hear  that  Mr'  Hewson  resolves  to  come.  My  Love  to  her 
and  her  Children.  I  consent  to  your  Staying  till  the  End  of 
the  Month,  on  Condition  however  of  your  making  a  Visit  to 
Chilbolton  and  bringing  me  Word  of  the  Welfare  of  that  dear 
Family.1  M.  le  Veillard  mends,  but  slowly.  Our  other 
Friends  are  well.  We  have  had  a  Visit  from  the  Count 
d'Oeills.  My  Love  to  Mr  &  M"  Sargent,  &c.  —  I  have 
lately  seen  in  the  English  Papers  an  Advertisement  of  Cast 
Iron  Tiles  for  Covering  Houses.  I  wish  you  would  bring  me 
one  as  a  Sample  with  the  Price,  which  if  I  like  I  shall  take 
enough  to  cover  my  House  at  Philadelphia,  and  may  intro- 
duce the  Use  of  them  there.  Your  last  is  the  7th  that  I  have 
receiv'd  from  you  of  the  10  you  mention  to  have  written. 
I  am  very  well  at  present  but  have  had  some  bad  Turns  lately. 
I  am  ever 

Your  affectionate  Grandfather 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

I  am  charg'd  by  several  of  our 

Friends  to  say  mille  choses,  to  you  for  them. 

1  Chilbolton  was  the  home  of  Jonathan  Shipley,  "the  good  Bishop"  of  St 
Asaph.  —  ED. 


278       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1784 

1539.    TO  CHARLES  THOMSON    (D.  s.  w.) 
Passy,  November  n,  1784. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  August  13  with  the  papers 
annexed,  relative  to  the  affair  of  Longchamps.  I  hope  Sat- 
isfaction will  be  given  to  M.  Marbois.  The  Commissioners 
have  written  a  joint  Letter  to  Congress.  This  serves  to  cover 
a  few  papers  relative  to  matters  with  which  I  was  particularly 
charged  in  the  Instructions.  I  shall  write  to  you  fully  by 
the  next  Opportunity,  having  now  only  time  to  add,  that  I 
am,  as  ever,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  I  executed  the  Instructions  of  October  29,  1783,  as 
soon  as  I  knew  the  Commissions  for  treating  with  the  Emperor, 
&c.  were  issued,  which  was  not  till  July,  1784.  The  three 
Letters  between  the  Emperor's  Minister  and  me  are  what 
passed  on  that  Occasion. 


1540.    TO  RICHARD  BACHE  (B.  M.) 

Passy,  Nov.  n.  1784 

I  RECEIVED  your  Letters  of  the  28th  of  August,  and  loth  of 
September,  with  the  newspapers  by  M.  Sailly,  but  they  were 
very  incompleat  and  broken  Sets,  many  being  omitted  per- 
haps the  most  material,  which  is  disagreable  to  me  who  wish 
to  be  well  inform'd  of  what  is  doing  among  you.  I  was  glad 
to  receive  the  good  Account  B  &  S  have  given  of  their 
good  Treatment  of  those  trifling  Correspondents.  Your 


1784]  TO  MESSRS.   WITAL  AND  PAUCHE  279 

Family  having  pass'd  well  thro'  the  Summer  gives  me  great 
pleasure.  I  still  hope  to  see  them  before  I  die.  Benny  con- 
tinues well,  and  grows  amazingly.  He  is  a  very  sensible  and 
a  very  good  Lad,  and  I  love  him  much.  I  had  Thoughts  of 
bringing  him  up  under  his  Cousin,  and  fitting  him  for  Public 
Business,  thinking  he  might  be  of  Service  hereafter  to  his 
Country ;  but  being  now  convinc'd  that  Service  is  no  Inher- 
itance, as  the  Proverb  says,  I  have  determin'd  to  give  him  a 
Trade  that  he  may  have  something  to  depend  on,  and  not  be 
oblig'd  to  ask  Favours  or  Offices  of  anybody.  And  I  flatter 
myself  he  will  make  his  way  good  in  the  World  with  God's 
Blessing.  He  has  already  begun  to  learn  the  business  from 
Masters  who  come  to  my  House,1  and  is  very  diligent  in  work- 
ing and  quick  in  learning.  He  will  write  by  this  Opportunity. 
I  can  say  nothing  certain  with  respect  to  my  Return  at 
present.  In  the  Spring  I  may  see  clearer.  My  Malady  tho' 
it  does  not  permit  my  using  a  Carriage,  is  otherwise  tolerable. 
I  enjoy  the  Company  of  my  Friends,  and  pass  my  time  as 
well  as  can  be  expected  for  an  Exile.  My  love  to  Sally  and 
the  Children,  from  Your  Affectionate  Father 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1541.    TO  MESSRS.  WITAL  AND  PAUCHE *    (A.  p.  s.) 

GENTLEMEN  Passy,  Nov.  15. 1784 

I  have  attentively  considered  your  Project  communicated 
to  me  in  yours  of  the  24th  past,  &  of  which  you  desire  my 
Opinion. 

1  A  printer  and  a  letter-founder.  —  F. 

2  Booksellers  in  Neufchatel.     Their  letter,  dated  October  24,  1784,  is  in 
A.  P.  S.  — ED. 


280       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1784 

I  have  some  Doubts  whether  you  will  find  your  Bookselling 
and  Printing  Business  sufficiently  profitable  at  first  for  the 
Support  of  three  Families,  because  the  French  Language  in 
which  I  suppose  your  Books  chiefly  are,  is  not  yet  much  ex- 
tended in  North  America.  It  is  however  since  the  Alliance 
with  France  daily  increasing,  Schools  being  established  in 
all  the  great  Towns  for  teaching  it.  But  if  you  can  add  to 
the  Sale  of  Books  the  different  Manufactures  of  your  Coun- 
try, and  settle  such  Correspondences  before  you  leave  it  as 
may  keep  you  constantly  supply'd  with  them,  it  is  possible 
the  Gains  may  be  very  considerable. 

I  inclose  a  little  Pamphlet  which  will  give  you  some 
Information  respecting  our  Country,  and  if  I  can  be  of  any 
Service  to  you  there  it  will  be  a  Pleasure  to, 

Gentlemen, 

Your  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1542.    TO  DR.  BRAV1  (A.  p.  s.) 

k  Passy  ce  22  Nov.™  '84. 

JE  suis  trop  Stranger,  Monsieur,  a  toute  dispute  sur  le 
Mesme*risme  pour  consentir  que  mon  nom  paroisse  ni  directe- 

1  In  answer  to  the  following  letter :  — 

Paris,  le  21  Novembre  1784. 

Vous  prevoiez,  Monsieur,  que  je  vais  non  pas  vous  engager  a  la  vengeance 
(elle  est  au-dessous  de  vous)  mais  a  me  permettre  de  faire  connaltre  sous  vos 
auspices  1'orateur  Mesmerien,  en  disant  au  public  ebranle  par  moi,  mais  desa- 
buse  par  vous  a  peu  pres  ce  qui  sait : 

"  Puisque  Mesmer  ne  se  donne  pas  la  peine  d'ecrire  lui  meme  ses  sottises, 
le  sage  Bostonien  a  le  m8me  droit,  avec  cette  difference  que  Mesmer  paye 
tres  cher  1'encre  et  qu'on  la  donne  cette  encore  a  M'..  Franklin  sans  interet  sans 


1784]  TO  THOMAS  JEFFERSON  281 

ment  ni  indirectement  ailleurs  que  dans  le  Rapport  des  Com- 
missaires  au  nombre  desquels  la  Majeste*  m'avoit  nomme'. 
J'ai  Thonneur  d'etre,  Monsieur, 

Votre  tres  humble  et  tres 

ob£issant  serviteur 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1543.    TO  THOMAS   JEFFERSON    (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  Nov.  23,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, 

These  People  are  so  accustomed  to  see  every  thing  done 
by  solicitation  of  Interest,  or  what  they  call  Protection,  and 
nothing  without  it,  that  they  hardly  conceive  it  possible  to 
obtain  the  Payment  even  of  a  just  Debt,  but  by  means  of 
Persons  whom  they  suppose  to  have  Influence  enough  to 
support  and  enforce  their  Pretensions.  We  should  naturally 
suppose,  that  the  proper  time  for  asking  such  Aid  would  be 
after  a  regular  Demand,  and  a  Refusal  of  Justice ;  but  they 
run  about  to  everybody  with  their  Memorials,  before  they 
have  even  presented  their  Account  to  those  whom  they  con- 
sider as  their  Debtors.  Thus  the  Creditors,  not  only  of  a 
State  in  America,  but  even  of  private  Merchants,  teize  the 
Ministers  of  this  Country,  as  well  as  those  of  America  here, 
with  their  Petitions  and  Cases,  requesting  Assistance  and 

espoir  de  salaire,  d'aussi  bon  coeur  que  Pestime  et  la  veneration  dont  il  est  si 
digne." 

(signed)          Brav 

Etud-Med* 

Chez  M.  Joliot,  Medecin,  rue  des 
Lions  S4..  Paul  a  Paris.  —  ED. 


282        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN"  FRANKLIN    [1784 

Interest  to  procure  attention  to  their  Affairs,  when  it  does  not 
appear  that  their  Claims  have  been  refused,  or  even  made 
where  they  ought  to  be  made. 

I  beg  leave  to  refer  to  you  the  enclosed  Papers,  and  to 
request,  that,  if  you  are  acquainted  with  the  Affair,  and  can 
give  any  comfortable  Expectation  or  Counsel  to  the  poor 
Man,  you  would  be  so  good  as  to  furnish  me  with  it,  that  I 
may  communicate  it  to  him  in  my  Answer.  With  great  and 
sincere  Esteem,  I  am,  Sir, 

Your  Excellency's  most  obedient 

&  most  humble  Servant 
B.  FRANKLIN. 

1544.    TO  

1784. 

I  AM  glad  to  hear  that  your  family  are  safely  arrived  in 
London,  and  that  you  propose  to  bring  them  here  with  you. 
Your  life  will  be  more  comfortable. 

I  thank  you  much  for  the  translation  of  the  Abbe*  de  Mably's 
letters.  The  French  edition  is  not  yet  published  here.  I 
have  as  yet  only  had  time  to  run  over  the  translator's  preface, 
which  seems  well  written.  I  imagine  Mr.  Snowden  to  be  a 
Presbyterian  minister,  as  I  formerly  corresponded  with  one 
of  that  name  in  Holland,  who,  I  suppose,  might  be  his  father. 
I  have  not  seen  the  piece  you  mention  of  a  Berlin  academician. 
I  should  not  object  to  his  enjoyment  of  the  discovery  he  has 
made,  that  despotism  in  the  best  possible  form  of  govern- 
ment, by  his  living  under  it  as  long  as  he  pleases.  For  I  ad- 
mire the  decision  of  his  prince  in  a  similar  case  of  a  dispute 
among  his  clergy  concerning  the  duration  of  hell  torments. 
With  great  respect,  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  etc., 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1784]  TO  SAMUEL  JACKSON  PRATT  283 


1545.    TO   SAMUEL   JACKSON   PRATT1 

Passy  [no  date,  circa  1784]. 

SIR  :  —  I  should  have  been  flattered  exceedingly  by  Mrs. 
Melmoth's  showing  the  least  inclination  for  one  of  those 
portraits,*  when  Mrs.  Izard  accepted  the  other,  and  should 
have  presented  it  to  her  with  the  greatest  pleasure.  She  did 
not  appear  to  desire  it,  and  I  did  not  presume  it  of  value  enough 
to  be  offered.  Her  quarrel  with  me  on  that  account  is  pleas- 
ing. The  reconciliation,  when  I  can  obtain  it,  will  be  more 
so.  At  present  another  lady  has  put  it  out  of  my  power  to 
comply  with  the  terms.  M.  de  Chaumont,  at  whose  pottery 
in  the  country  they  were  made,  receiving  a  request  from 
Petersburg  for  one  of  them,  to  gratify  the  curiosity  of  the 
Empress,  and  having  none  in  town,  he  got  from  me  the  only 
one  I  had  left,  and  has  sent  it  away.  But  I  am  promised 
another  soon,  and  shall  seize  the  first  moment  of  making  my 
peace  with  it.  In  the  meantime,  I  hope  you  will  intercede 
for  me,  in  that  heart  where  I  am  sure  you  have  interest.  Ac- 
cept my  thanks  for  the  books,  from  the  reading  of  which  I 
promise  myself  a  good  deal  of  pleasure.  Please  to  accept 
also  the  trifle  inclosed,  and  believe  me  with  most  sincere 

esteem,  etc., 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  From  "The  Complete  Works  of  Benjamin  Franklin  "  (Bigelow),  Vol.  IX, 
p.  72.  Samuel  Jackson  Pratt  (1749-1814)  was  a  book  writer  whose  hireling 
pen  seems  to  have  been  of  some  service  to  Franklin.  He  wrote  under  the 
pen  name  of  Courtney  Melmoth.  —  ED. 

*  By  NinL  —  ED. 


284       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

1546.    TO   DAVID  HARTLEY1 

Passy,  January  3,  1785. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  letter  of  December  ist,  from  Bath. 
I  am  glad  to  hear  that  your  good  sister  is  in  a  fair  way  towards 
recovery;  my  respects  and  best  wishes  attend  her. 

I  communicated  your  letter  to  Mr.  Jefferson,  to  remind 
him  of  his  promise  to  communicate  to  you  the  intelligence 
he  might  receive  from  America  on  the  subjects  you  mention ; 
and  now,  having  got  back,  I  shall  endeavour  to  answer  the 
other  parts  of  it. 

What  you  propose  to  draw  up  of  your  opinions  on  Ameri- 
can negociation,  may  be  of  great  use,  if  laid,  as  you  intend, 
before  administration,  in  case  they  seriously  intend  to  enter 
on  it  after  the  meeting  of  Parliament ;  for  I  know  your  ideas 
all  tend  to  a  good  understanding  between  the  two  countries 
and  their  common  advantage ;  and  in  my  mind,  too,  all  self- 
ish projects  of  partial  profit  are  the  effects  of  short-sighted- 
ness, they  never  producing  permanent  benefits,  and  are  at 
length  the  causes  of  discord  and  its  consequences,  wherein 
much  more  is  spent  than  all  the  temporary  gains  amounted  to. 

I  do  not  know  that  any  one  is  yet  appointed  by  your  court 
to  treat  with  us.  We  some  time  since  acquainted  your  min- 
ister with  our  powers  and  disposition  to  treat,  which  he 
communicated  to  his  court,  and  received  for  answer,  that  his 
Majesty's  ministers  were  ready  to  receive  any  propositions  we 
might  have  to  make  for  the  common  benefit  of  both  coun- 

1  From  "  The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin,"  1818,  Vol.  II, 
p.  423.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  DAVID  HARTLEY  285 

tries,  but  they  thought  it  more  for  the  honour  of  both,  that 
the  treaty  should  not  be  in  a  third  place.  We  answered, 
that,  though  we  did  not  see  much  inconvenience  in  treating 
here,  we  would,  as  soon  as  we  had  finished  some  affairs 
at  present  on  our  hands,  wait  upon  them,  if  they  pleased, 
in  London.  We  have  since  heard  nothing. 

We  have  no  late  accounts  from  America  of  any  importance. 
You  know  the  Congress  adjourned  the  beginning  of  June 
till  the  beginning  of  November.  And  since  their  meeting 
there  has  been  no  account  of  their  proceedings.  All  the 
stories  in  your  papers  relating  to  their  divisions  are  fiction  as 
well  as  those  of  the  people  being  discontented  with  Congres- 
sional government.  Mr.  Jay  writes  to  me,  that  they  were  at 
no  time  more  happy  or  more  satisfied  with  their  government, 
than  at  present,  nor  ever  enjoyed  more  tranquillity  or  pros- 
perity. In  truth,  the  freedom  of  their  ports  to  all  nations  has 
brought  in  a  vast  plenty  of  foreign  goods,  and  occasioned  a 
demand  for  their  produce,  the  consequence  of  which  is  the 
double  advantage  of  buying  what  they  consume  cheap,  and 
selling  what  they  can  spare  dear. 

If  we  should  come  to  London,  I  hope  it  may  still  be  with  you 
that  we  are  to  do  business.  Our  already  understanding  one 
another  may  save,  on  many  points,  a  good  deal  of  time  in  dis- 
cussion. But  I  doubt  whether  any  treaty  is  intended  on  your 
part,  and  I  fancy  we  shall  not  press  it.  It  may  perhaps  be  best 
to  give  both  sides  time  to  inquire,  and  to  jeel  for  the  interests 
they  cannot  see.  With  sincere  and  great  esteem,  I  am  ever, 
my  dear  friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


286        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 


1547.    TO  RICHARD  PRICE1       (M.  H.  s.) 

Passy,  Feb.  i,  1785. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND,  —  I  received  duly  your  kind  letter  of 
Oct.  2 1,2  and  another  before  with  some  of  your  excellent  pam- 
phlets of  Advice  to  the  United  States.  My  last  letters  from 
America  inform  me  that  every  thing  goes  on  well  there, 
that  the  new  elected  Congress  is  met,  and  consists  of  very 
respectable  characters  with  excellent  dispositions;  and  the 
people  in  general  very  happy  under  their  new  governments. 
The  last  year  has  been  a  prosperous  one  for  the  country; 
the  crops  plentiful  and  sold  at  high  prices  for  exportation, 
while  all  imported  goods,  from  the  great  plenty,  sold  low. 
This  is  the  happy  consequence  of  our  commerce  being  open 
to  all  the  world,  and  no  longer  a  monopoly  to  Britain.  Your 
papers  are  full  of  our  divisions  and  distresses,  which  have 
no  existence  but  in  the  imagination  and  wishes  of  English 
newswriters  and  their  employers. 

I  sent  you  sometime  since  a  little  piece  intitled,  Testament 
de  M.  Fortune*  Ricard,8  which  exemplifies  strongly  and 
pleasantly  your  doctrine  of  the  immense  powers  of  compound 
interest.  I  hope  you  received  it.  If  not,  I  will  send  you 
another.  I  send  herewith  a  new  work  of  Mr  Necker's  on  the 
Finances  of  France.  You  will  find  good  things  in  it,  particu- 
larly his  chapter  on  War.  I  imagine  Abbe  Morellet  may 
have  sent  a  copy  to  Lord  Lansdowne.  If  not,  please  to  com- 
municate it.  I  think  I  sent  you  formerly  his  Conte  rendu. 

1  The  original  in  the  possession  of  Walter  Ashburton  in  England.  —  ED. 

2  In  A.P.S.—  ED. 

8  By  Mathon  de  la  Cour.     See  letter  to  Vaughan,  April  21,  1785.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  JOHN  JAY  287 

This  work  makes  more  talk  here  than  that,  tho'  that  made 
abundance.  I  will  not  say  that  the  writer  thinks  higher  of 
himself  and  his  abilities  than  they  deserve,  but  I  wish  for  his 
own  sake  that  he  had  kept  such  sentiments  more  out  of  sight. 
With  unalterable  esteem  and  respect,  I  am  ever,  my  dear 

Friend, 

Yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1548.    TO   JOHN  JAY  (L.C.) 

Passy,  Feb.  8,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  by  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette  your  kind  Letter 
of  the  1 3th  of  December.  It  gave  me  Pleasure  on  two  Ac- 
counts ;  as  it  inf orm'd  me  of  the  public  Welfare,  and  that  of 
your,  I  may  almost  say  our  dear  little  Family;  for,  since  I 
had  the  Pleasure  of  their  being  with  me  in  the  same  House, 
I  have  ever  felt  a  tender  Affection  for  them,  equal  I  believe 
to  that  of  most  Fathers. 

I  did  hope  to  have  heard  by  the  last  Packet  of  your  having 
accepted  the  Secretaryship  of  Foreign  Affairs,  but  was  dis- 
appointed. I  write  to  you  now,  therefore,  only  as  a  private 
Friend;  yet  I  may  mention  respecting  Public  Affairs,  that, 
as  far  as  I  can  perceive,  the  good  Disposition  of  this  Court 
towards  us  continues.  I  wish  I  could  say  as  much  for  the 
rest  of  the  European  Courts.  I  think  that  their  desire  of  being 
connected  with  us  by  Treaties  is  of  late  much  abated ;  and  this 
I  suppose  occasioned  by  the  Pains  Britain  takes  to  represent 
us  everywhere  as  distracted  with  Divisions,  discontented  with 
our  Governments,  the  People  unwilling  to  pay  Taxes,  the 


288        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

Congress  unable  to  collect  them,  and  many  desiring  the  Res- 
toration of  the  old  Government,  etc.  The  English  Papers 
are  full  of  this  Stuff,  and  their  Ministers  get  it  copied  into  the 
foreign  Papers.  The  moving  about  of  the  Congress  from 
Place  to  Place  has  also  a  bad  Effect,  in  giving  Colour  to  the 
Reports  of  their  being  afraid  of  the  People.  I  hope  they  will 
soon  settle  somewhere,  and,  by  the  Steadiness  and  Wisdom 
of  their  Measures,  dissipate  all  those  Mists  of  Misrepresenta- 
tion raised  by  the  remaining  Malice  of  ancient  Enemies, 
and  establish  our  Reputation  for  national  Justice  and  Pru- 
dence as  they  have  done  for  Courage  and  Perseverance. 

It  grieves  me  that  we  have  not  been  able  to  discharge  our 
first  Year's  Payment  of  Interest  to  this  Court,  due  the  begin- 
ning of  last  Month.  I  hope  it  will  be  the  only  failure,  and 
that  effectual  Measures  will  be  taken  to  be  exactly  punctual 
hereafter.  The  good  Paymaster,  says  the  Proverb,  is  Lord 
o)  another  man's  Purse.  The  bad  one,  if  he  ever  has  again 
Occasion  to  borrow,  must  pay  dearly  for  his  Carelessness 
and  Injustice. 

You  are  happy  in  having  got  back  safe  to  your  Country. 
I  should  be  less  unhappy,  if  I  could  imagine  the  Delay  of 
my  Conge  useful  to  the  States,  or  in  the  least  degree  necessary. 
But  they  have  many  equally  capable  of  doing  all  I  have  to 
do  here.  The  new  propos'd  Treaties  are  the  most  impor- 
tant Things ;  but  two  can  go  thro'  with  them  as  well  as  three, 
if  indeed  any  are  likely  to  be  compleated,  which  I  begin  to 
doubt,  since  the  new  ones  make  little  Progress,  and  the  old 
ones,  which  wanted  only  the  Fiat  of  Congress,  seem  now  to 
be  going  rather  backward;  I  mean  those  I  had  projected 
with  Denmark  and  Portugal. 

My  Grandsons  are  sensible  of  the  honour  of  your  remem- 


1785]  TO  RICHARD   HENRY  LEE  289 

brance,  and  present  their  Respects  to  you  and  Mrs.  Jay.  I 
add  my  best  wishes  of  Health  and  Happiness  to  you  all, 
being  with  sincere  Esteem  and  Affection,  dear  Sir,  your  most 
obedient  humble  servant. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1549.    TO   RICHARD  HENRY  LEE1 

Passy,  February  8,  1785. 

SIR, 

I  received  by  the  Marquis  de  Lafayette  the  two  letters 
you  did  me  the  honour  of  writing  to  me  the  nth  and  i4th 
of  December;  the  one  enclosing  a  letter  from  Congress  to 
the  King,  the  other  a  resolve  of  Congress  respecting  the  con- 
vention for  establishing  consuls.  The  letter  was  immediately 
delivered  and  well  received.  The  resolve  came  too  late  to 
suspend  signing  the  convention,  it  having  been  done  July 
last,  and  a  copy  sent  so  long  since,  that  we  now  expected  the 
ratification.  As  that  copy  seems  to  have  miscarried  I  now 
send  another. 

I  am  not  informed  what  objection  has  arisen  in  Congress 
to  the  plan  sent  me.  Mr.  Jefferson  thinks  it  may  have  been 
to  the  part  which  restrained  the  consuls  from  all  concern  in 
commerce.  That  article  was  omitted,  being  thought  unneces- 
sary to  be  stipulated,  since  either  party  would  always  have 
the  power  of  imposing  such  restraints  on  its  own  officers, 
whenever  it  should  think  fit.  I  am,  however,  of  opinion  that 
this  or  any  other  reasonable  article  or  alteration  may  be  ob- 
tained at  the  desire  of  Congress,  and  established  by  a  supple- 
ment. 

1  President  of  Congress.  —  ED. 
VOL.  IX  —  u 


290       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

Permit  me,  Sir,  to  congratulate  you  on  your  being  called 
to  the  high  honour  of  presiding  in  our  national  councils, 
and  to  wish  you  every  felicity,  being  with  the  most  perfect 

esteem,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

\ 

1550.    TO  COMTE  DE  WINDISCH-GRATZ    (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  le  22  FevF  1785 

PAI  recu  Monsieur,  la  Lettre  infine*ment  bonne"  te  dont 
vous  m'avez  honore  le  9  de  ce  Mois,  et  Je  ne  puis  qu'  approu- 
ver  PEcrit  qui  y  etait  joint :  il  ne  pouvra  manquer  d'etre 
utile.  Je  m'empresserai  de  faire  passer  en  Amerique  suivant 
votre  Desir  les  Exemplaires  que  vous  m'annoncez  des  qu'ils 
me  seront  parvenus,  car  jusqu'a  present  je  n'ai  recu  que 
celui  qui  etait  joint  a  votre  Lettre,  et  pour  le  quil  je  vous  prie 
de  recevois  mes  sinceres  Remerciements. 

J'ai  Fhonneur  d'etre  avec  une  respectueuse  Consideration, 
M.  .  .  .  votre 

[B.  FRANKLIN.] 

1551.    TO  WILLIAM  STRAHAN1 

Passy,  March  5,  1785 

DEAR  FRIEND  :  —  I  received  your  kind  letter  by  my 
grandson.  I  thank  you  for  the  civilities  you  showed  him 
when  in  London. 

I  hope  to  get  home  this  ensuing  summer.    I  shall  have  an 

iFrom  "The  Complete  Works  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (Bigelow),  Vol.  IX, 
p.  79.  — ED. 


1785]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  291 

old  account  to  settle  then  with  the  family  of  our  friend  Hall. 
There  is  a  particular  article  of  some  importance,  about  which 
we  were  not  agreed,  but  were  to  be  determined  by  your  opin- 
ion. It  was  the  value  of  a  copyright  in  an  established  news- 
paper, of  each  of  which  from  eight  to  ten  thousand  were 
printed.  My  long  absence  from  that  country,  and  immense 
employment  the  little  time  I  was  there,  have  hitherto  pre- 
vented the  settlement  of  all  the  accounts  that  had  been  be- 
tween us;  though  we  never  differed  about  them,  and  never 
should  if  that  good  honest  man  had  continued  in  being.  To 
prevent  all  dispute  on  the  above  points  with  his  son,  it  is 
that  I  now  request  your  decision,  which  I  doubt  not  will  be 
satisfactory  to  us  both.  With  unchangeable  esteem,  I  am 
ever,  my  dear  friend, 

Yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 
My  respects  to  Mrs.  Strahan. 


1552.    TO   BENJAMIN   VAUGHAN       (L.  c.) 

ON    THE    CRIMINAL    LAWS    AND    THE    PRACTICE    OF    PRIVA- 


TEERING 


Passy,  March  14,  1785. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, 
Among  the  Pamphlets  you  lately  sent  me  was  one  intitled 

1  "The  following  paper  was  written  in  the  form  of  a  letter  to  Mr.  Benjamin 
Vaughan,  and  dated  at  Passy,  March  I4th,  1785.  It  first  appeared  anony- 
mously in  a  small  volume  published  by  Sir  Samuel  Romilly,  in  the  year  1 786, 
being  OBSERVATIONS  on  a  treatise  by  Dr.  Madan,  entitled  Thoughts  on 
Executive  Justice.  The  letter  contains  remarks  on  the  same  publication. 
It  was  communicated  by  Mr.  Vaughan  to  Sir  Samuel  Romilly,  who  printed  it 


292       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

"Thoughts  on  Executive  Justice."1  In  return  for  that,  I 
send  you  a  French  one  on  the  same  Subject,  Observations 
conccrnant  V Execution  de  V Article  II.  de  la  Declaration  sur 
le  Vol.  They  are  both  address'd  to  the  Judges,  but  written, 
as  you  will  see,  in  a  very  different  Spirit.  The  English  Author 
is  for  hanging  all  Thieves.  The  Frenchman  is  for  propor- 
tioning Punishments  to  Offences. 

If  we  really  believe,  as  we  profess  to  believe,  that  the  Law 
of  Moses  was  the  Law  of  God,  the  Dictate  of  divine  Wisdom, 
infinitely  superior  to  human;  on  what  Principles  do  we  or- 
dain Death  as  the  Punishment  of  an  Offence,  which,  accord- 
ing to  that  Law,  was  only  to  be  punish'd  by  a  Restitution  of 
Fourfold?  To  put  a  man  to  Death  for  an  Offence  which 
does  not  deserve  Death,  is  it  not  Murder?  And,  as  the 
French  Writer  says,  Doit-on  punir  un  delit  contre  la  societe 
par  un  crime  contre  la  nature?2 

at  the  end  of  his  OBSERVATIONS,  under  the  title  of  A  Letter  from  a  Gentle- 
man abroad  to  his  Friend  in  England,  and  prefixed  to  it  an  explanatory 
advertisement. 

"  '  The  writer  of  the  foregoing  Observations?  says  he, '  having  been  favoured 
with  a  copy  of  the  following  letter  by  a  friend  of  his,  to  whom  it  was  ad- 
dressed, thought  he  should  render  a  very  acceptable  service  to  the  public  by 
printing  it.  At  the  same  time  he  cannot  but  feel  it  incumbent  on  him  to 
make  some  apology  for  publishing  it  in  the  form  of  an  Appendix  to  a  work, 
which  it  very  far  surpasses  in  every  kind  of  merit.  The  truth  is,  he  was  not 
at  liberty  to  print  it  any  other  manner.  The  simplicity  of  style  and  liberality 
of  thought,  which  distinguish  it,  cannot  fail  of  discovering  its  venerable  author 
to  such  as  are  already  acquainted  with  his  valuable  writings.  To  those,  who 
have  not  that  good  fortune,  the  editor  is  not  permitted  to  say  more,  than  that  it 
is  the  production  of  one  of  the  best  and  most  eminent  men  of  the  present  age.' 

"  This  testimony  is  valuable  from  such  a  man  as  Sir  Samuel  Romilly.  And 
indeed  the  letter  may  well  be  classed  among  the  best  of  the  author's  writings, 
whether  regarded  as  to  the  vigor  and  clearness  of  the  style,  the  benign  spirit 
it  breathes,  or  its  bold  defence  of  the  rights  of  humanity  and  justice."  —  S. 

1  See  letter  to  Le  Veillard,  April  15,  1787.  —  ED. 

2  "  Ought  an  offence  against  society  to  be  punished  by  a  crime  against 
nature?  " 


1785]  TO  BENJAMIN  V A  UGH  AN  293 

Superfluous  Property  is  the  Creature  of  Society.  Simple 
and  mild  Laws  were  sufficient  to  guard  the  Property  that  was 
merely  necessary.  The  Savage's  Bow,  his  Hatchet,  and  his 
Coat  of  Skins,  were  sufficiently  secured,  without  Law,  by  the 
Fear  of  personal  Resentment  and  Retaliation.  When,  by 
virtue  of  the  first  Laws,  Part  of  the  Society  accumulated 
Wealth  and  grew  powerful,  they  enacted  others  more  severe, 
and  would  protect  their  Property  at  the  Expence  of  Hu- 
manity. This  was  abusing  their  Power,  and  commencing  a 
Tyranny.  If  a  Savage,  before  he  enter'd  into  Society,  had 
been  told,  "Your  Neighbour  by  this  Means  may  become 
Owner  of  100  deer;  but  if  your  Brother,  or  your  Son,  or  your- 
self, having  no  Deer  of  your  own,  and  being  hungry,  should 
kill  one,  an  infamous  Death  must  be  the  consequence;"  he 
would  probably  have  preferr'd  his  Liberty,  and  his  common 
Right  of  killing  any  Deer,  to  all  the  Advantages  of  Society 
that  might  be  propos'd  to  him. 

That  it  is  better  100  guilty  Persons  should  escape  than  that 
one  innocent  Person  should  suffer,  is  a  Maxim  that  has  been 
long  and  generally  approved ;  never,  that  I  know  of,  contro- 
verted. Even  the  sanguinary  Author  of  the  "Thoughts" 
agrees  to  it,  Page  163,  adding  well,  "  that  the  very  Thought  of 
injured  Innocence,  and  much  more  that  of  suffering  Innocence, 
must  awaken  all  our  tenderest  and  most  compassionate 
Feelings,  and  at  the  same  time  raise  our  highest  Indignation 
against  the  Instruments  of  it.  But,"  he  adds,  "  there  is  no 
danger  of  either,  from  a  strict  Adherence  to  the  Laws." 
Really!  Is  it  then  impossible  to  make  an  unjust  Law? 
and  if  the  Law  itself  be  unjust,  may  it  not  be  the  very 
"Instrument"  which  ought  to  "raise  the  Author's  and  every- 
body's highest  Indignation"?  I  see,  in  the  last  News- 


294       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

paper  from  London,  that  a  Woman  is  capitally  convicted  at 
the  Old  Bailey,  for  privately  stealing  out  of  a  Shop  some 
Gauze,  value  14  Shillings  and  threepence;  is  there  any 
Proportion  between  the  Injury  done  by  a  Theft,  value  14/3, 
and  the  Punishment  of  a  human  Creature,  by  Death,  on  a 
Gibbet?  Might  not  that  Woman,  by  her  Labour,  have 
made  the  Reparation  ordain'd  by  God,  in  paying  fourfold? 
Is  not  all  Punishment  inflicted  beyond  the  Merit  of  the 
Offence,  so  much  Punishment  of  Innocence?  In  this  light, 
how  vast  is  the  annual  Quantity  of  not  only  injured,  but 
suffering  Innocence,  in  almost  all  the  civilized  states  of 
Europe ! 

But  it  seems  to  have  been  thought,  that  this  kind  of  Inno- 
cence may  be  punished  by  way  of  preventing  Crimes.  I  have 
read,  indeed,  of  a  cruel  Turk  in  Barbary,  who,  whenever  he 
bought  a  new  Christian  Slave,  ordered  him  immediately  to 
be  hung  up  by  the  Legs,  and  to  receive  an  100  Blows  of  a 
Cudgel  on  the  Soles  of  his  Feet,  that  the  severe  Sense  of  the 
Punishment,  and  Fear  of  incurring  it  thereafter,  might  pre- 
vent the  Faults  that  should  merit  it.  Our  Author  himself 
would  hardly  approve  entirely  of  this  Turk's  Conduct  in  the 
Government  of  Slaves;  and  yet  he  appears  to  recommend 
something  like  it  for  the  government  of  English  Subjects, 
when  he  applauds  the  Reply  of  Judge  Burnet  to  the  convict 
Horse-stealer,  who,  being  ask'd  what  he  had  to  say  why 
Judgment  of  Death  should  not  pass  against  him,  and 
answering,  that  it  was  hard  to  hang  a  Man  for  only  stealing  a 
Horse,  was  told  by  the  judge,  "  Man,  thou  art  not  to  be  hang'd 
only  for  stealing,  but  that  Horses  may  not  be  stolen." 

The  man's  Answer,  if  candidly  examined,  will  I  imagine 
appear  reasonable,  as  founded  on  the  Eternal  Principle  of 


1785]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  295 

Justice  and  Equity,  that  Punishments  should  be  proportioned 
to  Offences ;  and  the  judge's  Reply  brutal  and  unreasonable, 
tho'  the  Writer  "  wishes  all  Judges  to  carry  it  with  them  when- 
ever they  go  the  Circuit,  and  to  bear  it  in  their  Minds  as  con- 
taining a  wise  Reason  for  all  the  penal  Statutes,  which  they 
are  called  upon  to  put  in  Execution.  It  at  once  illustrates," 
says  he,  "  the  true  Grounds  and  Reasons  of  all  capital  Pun- 
ishments whatsoever,  namely,  that  every  man's  Property,  as 
well  as  his  Life,  may  be  held  sacred  and  inviolate."  Is  there 
then  no  difference  in  Value  between  Property  and  Life  ?  If  I 
think  it  right,  that  the  Crime  of  Murder  should  be  punished 
with  Death,  not  only  as  an  equal  Punishment  of  the  Crime, 
but  to  prevent  other  Murders,  does  it  follow  that  I  must 
approve  of  inflicting  the  same  Punishment  for  a  little  In- 
vasion on  my  Property  by  Theft  ?  If  I  am  not  myself  so  bar- 
barous, so  bloody-minded  and  revengeful,  as  to  kill  a  Fellow- 
Creature  for  stealing  from  me  14/3,  how  can  I  approve  of  a 
Law  that  does  it?  Montesquieu,  who  was  himself  a  Judge, 
endeavours  to  impress  other  Maxims.  He  must  have  known 
what  humane  Judges  feel  on  such  occasions,  and  what  the 
Effect  of  those  Feelings;  and,  so  far  from  thinking  that 
severe  and  excessive  Punishments  prevent  Crimes,  he  asserts, 
as  quoted  by  our  French  Writer,  that 

Uatrocite  des  loix  en  empeche  V execution. 

Lorsque  la  peine  est  sans  mesure,  on  est  sowvent  oblige  de 
lui  prejerer  Vimpunite. 

La  cause  de  tous  les  reldchemens  vient  de  Vimpunite  des 
crimes,  et  non  de  la  moderation  des  peines. 

It  is  said  by  those  who  know  Europe  generally,  that  there 
are  more  Thefts  committed  and  punish'd  annually  in  England, 
than  in  all  the  other  Nations  put  together.  If  this  be  so, 


296       THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

there  must  be  a  Cause  or  Causes  for  such  Depravity  in  your 
common  People.  May  not  one  be  the  Deficiency  of  Justice 
and  Morality  in  our  national  Government,  manifested  in  our 
oppressive  Conduct  to  Subjects,  and  unjust  wars  on  our 
Neighbours?  View  the  long-persisted  in,  unjust  monopo- 
lizing Treatment  of  Ireland  at  length  acknowledged !  View 
the  plundering  Government  exercis'd  by  your  Merchants  in 
the  Indies;  the  confiscating  War  made  upon  the  American 
Colonies;  and,  to  say  nothing  of  those  upon  France  and 
Spain,  view  the  late  War  upon  Holland,  which  was  seen  by 
impartial  Europe  in  no  other  Light  than  that  of  a  War  of 
Rapine  and  Pillage;  the  Hopes  of  an  immense  and  easy 
Prey  being  its  only  apparent,  and  probably  its  true  and  real 
Motive  and  Encouragement. 

Justice  is  as  strictly  due  between  neighbour  Nations  as 
between  neighbour  Citizens.  A  Highwayman  is  as  much  a 
Robber  when  he  plunders  in  a  Gang,  as  when  single ;  and  a 
Nation  that  makes  an  unjust  War,  is  only  a  great  Gang. 
After  employing  your  People  in  robbing  the  Dutch,  is  it  strange, 
that,  being  put  out  of  that  Employ  by  the  Peace,  they  should 
still  continue  robbing,  and  rob  one  another  ?  Piraterie,  as  the 
French  call  it,  or  Privateering,  is  the  universal  Bent  of  the 
English  Nation,  at  home  and  abroad,  wherever  settled.  No 
less  than  700  Privateers  were,  it  is  said,  commissioned  in  the 
last  War !  These  were  fitted  out  by  Merchants,  to  prey  upon 
other  Merchants,  who  had  never  done  them  any  Injury.  Is 
there  probably  any  one  of  those  privateering  Merchants  of 
London,  who  were  so  ready  to  rob  the  Merchants  of  Amster- 
dam, that  would  not  readily  plunder  another  London  Mer- 
chant of  the  next  Street,  if  he  could  do  it  with  impunity? 
The  Avidity,  the  alieni  appetens,  is  the  same;  it  is  the  Fear 


1785]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  297 

alone  of  the  Gallows  that  makes  the  difference.  How  then 
can  a  Nation,  which,  amorg  the  honestest  of  its  People,  has  so 
many  Thieves  by  Inclination,  and  whose  Government  en- 
couraged and  commissioned  no  less  than  700  Gangs  of  Rob- 
bers ;  how  can  such  a  Nation  have  the  Face  to  condemn  the 
Crime  in  Individuals,  and  hang  up  20  of  them  in  a  Morning? 
It  naturally  puts  one  hi  mind  of  a  Newgate  Anecdote.  One 
of  the  Prisoners  complain'd,  that  in  the  Night  somebody  had 
taken  his  Buckles  out  of  his  Shoes;  ''What,  the  Devil !"  says 
another,  "have  we  then  Thieves  among  us?  It  must  not  be 
suffered;  let  us  search  out  the  Rogue,  and  pump  him  to 
death." 

There  is,  however,  one  late  Instance  of  an  English  Mer- 
chant who  will  not  profit  by  such  ill-gotten  Gains.  He  was, 
it  seems,  part  Owner  of  a  Ship,  which  the  other  Owners 
thought  fit  to  employ  as  a  Letter  of  Marque,  and  which  took 
a  Number  of  French  Prizes.  The  Booty  being  shar'd,  he 
has  now  an  Agent  here  enquiring,  by  an  Advertisement  in 
the  Gazette,  for  those  who  suffer'd  the  Loss,  in  order  to  make 
them,  as  far  as  in  him  lies,  Restitution.  This  conscientious 
Man  is  a  Quaker.  The  Scotch  Presbyterians  were  formerly  as 
tender;  for  there  is  still  extant  an  Ordinance  of  the  Town- 
Council  of  Edinburgh,  made  soon  after  the  Reformation, 
"  forbidding  the  purchase  of  Prize  Goods,  under  Pain  of  losing 
the  Freedom  of  the  Burgh  for  ever,  with  other  Punishment  at 
the  Will  of  the  Magistrate;  the  Practice  of  making  Prizes 
being  contrary  to  good  Conscience,  and  the  rule  of  treating 
Christian  Brethren  as  we  would  wish  to  be  treated ;  and  such 
Goods  are  not  to  be  sold  by  any  godly  Men  within  this  Burgh" 
The  Race  of  these  godly  Men  in  Scotland  is  probably  extinct, 
or  their  Principles  abandoned ;  since,  as  far  as  that  Nation  had 


298        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

a  Hand  in  promoting  the  War  against  the  Colonies,  Prizes  and 
Confiscations  are  believ'd  to  have  teen  a  considerable  Motive. 

It  has  been  for  some  time  a  generally  receiv'd  Opinion, 
that  a  military  Man  is  not  to  enquire  whether  a  War  be  just 
or  unjust;  he  is  to  execute  his  Orders.  All  Princes  who  are 
disposed  to  become  Tyrants  must  probably  approve  of  this 
Opinion,  and  be  willing  to  establish  it;  but  is  it  not  a  dan- 
gerous one  ?  since,  on  that  Principle,  if  the  Tyrant  commands 
his  Army  to  attack  and  destroy,  not  only  an  unoffending 
Neighbour  nation,  but  even  his  own  Subjects,  the  Army  is 
bound  to  obey.  A  negro  Slave,  in  our  Colonies,  being  com- 
manded by  his  Master  to  rob  or  murder  a  Neighbour,  or  do 
any  other  immoral  Act,  may  refuse,  and  the  Magistrate  will 
protect  him  in  his  Refusal.  The  Slavery  then  of  a  Soldier  is 
worse  than  that  of  a  Negro  !  A  conscientious  Officer,  if  not 
restrain'd  by  the  Apprehension  of  its  being  imputed  to  another 
Cause,  may  indeed  resign,  rather  than  be  employ'd  in  an 
unjust  War;  but  the  private  Men  are  Slaves  for  Life;  and 
they  are  perhaps  incapable  of  judging  for  themselves.  We 
can  only  lament  their  Fate,  and  still  more  that  of  a  Sailor, 
who  is  often  dragg'd  by  Force  from  his  honest  Occupation, 
and  compelled  to  imbrue  his  Hands  in,  perhaps,  innocent 
Blood. 

But  methinks  it  well  behoves  Merchants  (Men  more 
enlight'ned  by  their  Education,  and  perfectly  free  from  any 
such  Force  or  Obligation,)  to  consider  well  of  the  justice  of  a 
War,  before  they  voluntarily  engage  a  Gang  of  Ruffians  to 
attack  their  Fellow  Merchants  of  a  neighbouring  Nation, 
to  plunder  them  of  their  Property,  and  perhaps  ruin  them  and 
their  Families,  if  they  yield  it ;  or  to  wound,  maim,  or  mur- 
der them,  if  they  endeavour  to  defend  it.  Yet  these  Things 


1785]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  299 

are  done  by  Christian  Merchants,  whether  a  War  be  just  or 
unjust;  and  it  can  hardly  be  just  on  both  sides.  They  are 
done  by  English  and  American  Merchants,  who,  neverthe- 
less, complain  of  private  Thefts,  and  hang  by  Dozens  the 
Thieves  they  have  taught  by  their  own  Example. 

It  is  high  time,  for  the  sake  of  Humanity,  that  a  Stop  be 
put  to  this  Enormity.  The  United  States  of  America,  tho' 
better  situated  than  any  European  Nation  to  make  profit  by 
Privateering  (most  of  the  Trade  of  Europe,  with  the  West 
Indies,  passing  before  their  doors),  are,  as  far  as  in  them  lies, 
endeavouring  to  abolish  the  Practice,  by  offering,  in  all  their 
Treaties  with  other  Powers,  an  Article,  engaging  solemnly, 
that,  in  Case  of  future  War,  no  Privateer  shall  be  commis- 
sion'd  on  either  Side;  and  that  unarm'd  Merchant-ships,  on 
both  sides,  shall  pursue  their  Voyages  unmolested.1  This 
will  be  a  happy  Improvement  of  the  Law  of  Nations.  The 
Humane  and  the  Just  cannot  but  wish  general  Success  to  the 
Proposition.  With  unchangeable  Esteem  and  Affection, 
I  am  my  dear  Friend  ever  yours, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  This  offer  having  been  accepted  by  the  late  King  of  Prussia,  a  treaty  of 
amity  and  commerce  was  concluded  between  that  monarch  and  the  United 
States,  containing  the  following  humane,  philanthropic  article;  in  the  forma- 
tion of  which  Dr.  Franklin,  as  one  of  the  American  plenipotentiaries,  was 
principally  concerned,  viz. 

ART.  XXIII. 

"  If  war  should  arise  between  the  two  contracting  parties,  the  merchants 
of  either  country,  then  residing  in  the  other,  shall  be  allowed  to  remain  nine 
months  to  collect  their  debts  and  settle  their  affairs,  and  may  depart  freely, 
carrying  off  all  their  effects  without  molestation  or  hindrance;  and  all  women 
and  children,  scholars  of  every  faculty,  cultivators  of  the  earth,  artisans,  manu- 
facturers, and  fishermen,  unarmed  and  inhabiting  unfortified  towns,  villages, 
or  places,  and  in  general  all  others,  whose  occupations  are  for  the  common 
subsistence  and  benefit  of  mankind,  shall  be  allowed  to  continue  their  respec- 
tive employments,  and  shall  not  be  molested  in  their  persons,  nor  shall  their 


3oo       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

1553.    TO   RICHARD   PRICE  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  March  18,  1785. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

My  nephew,  Mr.  Williams,  will  have  the  honour  of  deliv- 
ering you  this  line.  It  is  to  request  from  you  a  List  of  a  few 
good  Books,  to  the  Value  of  about  Twenty-five  Pounds,  such 
as  are  most  proper  to  inculcate  Principles  of  sound  Religion 
and  just  Government.  A  New  Town  in  the  State  of  Massa- 
chusetts having  done  me  the  honour  of  naming  itself  after  me, 
and  proposing  to  build  a  Steeple  to  their  meeting-house  if  I 
would  give  them  a  Bell,  I  have  advis'd  the  sparing  themselves 
the  Expence  of  a  Steeple,  for  the  present,  and  that  they  would 
accept  of  Books  instead  of  a  Bell,  Sense  being  preferable  to 
Sound.  These  are  therefore  intended  as  the  Commence- 
ment of  a  little  Parochial  Library  for  the  Use  of  a  Society  of 
intelligent,  respectable  Farmers,  such  as  our  Country  People 
generally  consist  of.  Besides  your  own  Works,  I  would  only 
mention,  on  the  Recommendation  of  my  sister,  "Stennet's 
Discourses  on  Personal  Religion"  which  may  be  one  Book  of 
the  Number,  if  you  know  and  approve  of  it.1 

houses  and  goods  be  burnt,  or  otherwise  destroyed,  nor  their  fields  wasted,  by 
the  armed  force  of  the  enemy  into  whose  power,  by  the  events  of  war,  they 
may  happen  to  fall ;  but,  if  any  thing  is  necessary  to  be  taken  from  them  for 
the  use  of  such  armed  force,  the  same  shall  be  paid  for  at  a  reasonable  price. 
And  all  merchants  and  trading  vessels  employed  in  exchanging  the  products 
of  different  places,  and  thereby  rendering  the  necessaries,  conveniences,  and 
comforts  of  human  life  more  easy  to  be  obtained,  and  more  general,  shall  be 
allowed  to  pass  free  and  unmolested;  and  neither  of  the  contracting  powers 
shall  grant  or  issue  any  commission  to  any  private  armed  vessels,  empowering 
them  to  take  or  destroy  such  trading  vessels,  or  interrupt  such  commerce."  — 
\V.  T.  F. 

1  Dr.  Price  complied  with  this  request  in  a  letter  dated  June  3d,  1785. 
The  books  were  procured  and  forwarded  to  the  town  of  Franklin.  The 


1785]  TO    WILLIAM  CARMICHAEL  301 

With  the  highest  Esteem  and  Respect,  I  am  ever,  my  dear 

Friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1554.    TO   WILLIAM  CARMICHAEL    (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  March  22,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  duly  your  Letter  of  the  27th  past,  which  gave 
me  great  Pleasure,  as  the  length  of  time  since  I  had  heard 
from  you  made  me  apprehensive  that  you  might  be  ill.  I 
immediately  communicated  the  Papers  inclosed  with  it  to 
my  Colleagues,  Messrs.  Adams  and  Jefferson,  and  we  have 
had  several  Meetings  on  the  Barbary  Affair.  Probably  by 
next  Week's  Post  we  may  write  fully  upon  it  to  you,  and  to 
Morocco. 

I  am  glad  you  are  likely  to  succeed  in  obtaining  the  Liberty 
of  our  silly  Countryman.1  The  Discipline  they  have  given 

Reverend  Nathaniel  Emmons,  clergyman  of  the  parish  for  which  the  library 
was  designed,  preached  a  sermon,  in  commemoration  of  this  bounty,  entitled, 
"The  Dignity  of  Man  ;  a  Discourse  addressed  to  the  Congregation  in  Franklin 
upon  the  Occasion  of  their  receiving  from  Dr.  Franklin  the  Mark  of  his  Re- 
spect in  a  rich  Donation  of  Books,  appropriated  to  the  Use  of  a  Parish 
Library"  It  was  printed  in  the  year  1787,  and  the  following  dedication 
was  prefixed  to  it.  "To  his  Excellency  Benjamin  Franklin,  President  of  the 
State  of  Pennsylvania;  the  Ornament  of  Genius,  the  Patron  of  Science,  and 
the  Boast  of  Man;  this  Discourse  is  inscribed,  with  the  greatest  Deference, 
Humility,  and  Gratitude,  by  his  obliged  and  most  humble  Servant,  the 
Author."  The  words  chosen  by  the  preacher  for  his  text  were  from  the  im- 
pressive charge  of  David  to  Solomon;  "  Show  thyself  a  A/an"  He  enlarged 
upon  the  importance  of  intellectual  and  moral  culture,  pointing  out  the  means, 
and  enforcing  the  use  of  them  by  persuasive  arguments.  He  referred  his 
hearers  to  the  example  of  Franklin,  as  affording  a  pertinent  illustration  of  the 
text,  and  encouragement  to  the  hopes  of  all,  who  would  employ  their  powers 
for  the  attainment  of  high  and  useful  objects.  — S. 

1  See  letter  to  Carmichael,  October  11,1784,  and  letter  to  Jonathan 
Williams,  April  13,  1785.  —  ED. 


302       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

him  is,  however,  not  misapply'd.  Mr.  Grand  being  now 
in  Cash,  your  bills  on  him  for  your  Salary  will  be  duly  hon- 
our'd.  I  mention  your  drawing  on  him,  because  probably 
I  may  not  be  here,  as  I  expect  daily  the  Permission  of  Con- 
gress to  return  home,  and  shall  embrace  the  first  Opportunity. 
Wherever  I  am,  be  assured  of  the  invariable  Esteem  and 
Attachment  of,  dear  Sir,  your  affectionate  friend  and  humble 

Servant 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1555.    TO  RICHARD  HENRY  LEE1 

Passy,  April  12,  1785. 
SIR, 

M.  de  Chaumont,  who  will  have  the  honour  of  presenting 
this  line  to  your  Excellency,  is  a  young  gentleman  of  excellent 
character,  whose  father  was  one  of  our  most  early  friends  in 
this  country,  which  he  manifested  by  crediting  us  with  a  thou- 
sand barrels  of  gunpowder  and  other  military  stores  in  1776, 
before  we  had  provided  any  apparent  means  of  payment.  He 
has,  as  I  understand,  some  demands  to  make  on  Congress, 
the  nature  of  which  I  am  unacquainted  with ;  but  my  regard 
for  the  family  makes  me  wish,  that  they  may  obtain  a  speedy 
consideration,  and  such  favourable  issue  as  they  may  appear 
to  merit. 

To  this  end,  I  beg  leave  to  recommend  him  to  your  coun- 
tenance and  protection,  and  am,  with  great  respect,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

&»•>•-     .•••  i  ,. 

1  President  of  Congress.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  JONATHAN  WILLIAMS  303 

1556.    TO    JONATHAN  WILLIAMS1     (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  13,  1785 

DEAR  COUSIN  :  —  I  received  your  letter  of  December  i6th, 
relating  to  Jonas  Hartwell.  I  had  before  written  to  our 
minister  at  Madrid,  Mr.  Carmichael,  requesting  him  to  apply 
for  the  release  of  that  man.  Enclosed  I  send  his  answer, 
with  copies  of  other  papers  relating  to  the  affair.  The  sim- 
pleton will  be  discharged,  perhaps  after  being  a  little  whipped 
for  his  folly,  and  that  may  not  be  amiss.  We  have  here 
another  New  England  man,  Thayer,2  formerly  a  candidate 
for  the  ministry,  who  converted  himself  lately  at  Rome,  and 
is  now  preparing  a  return  home  for  the  purpose  of  converting 
his  countrymen.  Our  ancestors  from  Catholic  became  first 
Church-of- England  men,  and  then  refined  into  Presbyterians. 
To  change  now  from  Presbyterianism  to  Popery  seems  to  me 
refining  backwards,  from  white  sugar  to  brown. 

I  have  written  to  Dr.  Price,  of  London,  requesting  him  to 
make  a  choice  of  proper  books  to  commence  a  library  for 
the  use  of  the  inhabitants  of  Franklin.  The  parcel  will  be 
sent  directly  from  thence. 

Jonathan  and  his  family  are  well.     He  expects  to  be  with 

1  The  original  letter  is  in  the  Maine  Historical  Society.     A  letter  press 
copy  with  P.  S.  in  pencil  is  in  L.  C.     The  letter  is  addressed  to  the  Senior 
Jonathan  Williams  of  Boston,  father  of  Jonathan  Williams,  agent  at  Nantes. 

—  ED. 

2  John  Thayer  (1755  ?-i8i5),  a  Protestant  clergyman  of  Boston  who  joined 
the  Roman  Catholic  Church  in  1783.     See  "An  Account  of  the  Conversion 
of  the  Rev.  Mr.  John  Thayer,  lately  a  Protestant  Minister  at  Boston  in  North 
America,  who  embraced  the  Roman  Catholic  Religion  at  Rome,  on  the  25th 
of  May,  1783,  written  by  himself."     This  work  was  printed  in  London,  re- 
printed in  America,  and  translated  into  French,  Spanish,  and  Italian.  —  ED. 


304        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

you  soon.  I  continue  very  hearty  and  well,  except  my 
malady  of  the  stone,  which,  however,  is  hitherto  very  toler- 
able. My  love  to  cousin  Grace,  etc.,  and  believe  me  ever 

your  affectionate  uncle. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  April  1 4th.  —  I  send  enclosed  a  bill  drawn  by 
W.  Vernon,  junior,  on  his  father,  for  840  livres,  which  I 
request  you  would  receive  and  deliver  to  my  sister  Mecom. 

;  ::•.;•.'..:-      ;i,  \\y . 


1557.    TO   BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN     (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  21,  1785. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  your  kind  letter  of  the  23d  past,  by  Mr.  Perry,1 
with  the  other  bottle  of  Blackrie.2  I  thank  you  much  for 
your  care  in  sending  them.  I  should  have  been  glad  to  be 
of  any  use  to  Mr.  Perry;  but  he  had  placed  his  children 
before  I  saw  him,  and  he  stayed  with  me  only  a  few  minutes. 

We  see  much  in  parliamentary  proceedings,  and  in  papers 
and  pamphlets,  of  the  injury  the  concessions  to  Ireland  will 
do  to  the  manufacturers  of  England,  while  the  people  of 
England  seem  to  be  forgotten,  as  if  quite  out  of  the  question. 
If  the  Irish  can  manufacture  cottons,  and  stuffs,  and  silks, 
and  linens,  and  cutlery,  and  toys,  and  books,  &c.  &c.  &c., 

1  This  letter  is  in  A.  P.  S.     Mr.  Perry  was  a  shipbuilder  who,  according  to 
Benjamin  Vaughan,  possessed  "  the  largest  private  ship-yard  in  England  or 
perhaps  in  the  world,  and  has  had  the  building  of  ships  of  the  line  sufficient 
to  form  a  division  in  a  line  of  battle,  beside  forty  gun  ships  &  frigates,  and 
various  East  Indiamen  &c."      His  business  in  Paris  at  this  time  was  the  plac- 
ing of  his  two  sons  for  a  few  months  in  France  for  their  improvement. —  ED. 

2  Blackrie's  Solvent,  a  remedy  for  the  stone.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  305 

so  as  to  sell  them  cheaper  in  England  than  the  manufac- 
turers of  England  sell  them,  is  not  this  good  for  the  people  of 
England,  who  are  not  manufacturers  ?  And  will  not  even  the 
manufacturers  themselves  share  the  benefit  ?  Since  if  cottons 
are  cheaper,  all  the  other  manufacturers  who  wear  cottons 
will  save  in  that  article ;  and  so  of  the  rest.  If  books  can  be 
had  much  cheaper  from  Ireland,  (which  I  believe,  for  I 
bought  Blackstone  there  for  twenty-four  shillings,  when  it 
was  sold  in  England  at  four  guineas,)  is  not  this  an  advantage, 
not  to  English  booksellers,  indeed,  but  to  English  readers,  and 
to  learning?  And  of  all  the  complainants,  perhaps  these 
booksellers  are  least  worthy  of  consideration.  The  cata- 
logue you  last  sent  me  amazes  me  by  the  high  prices  (said  to 
be  the  lowest)  affixed  to  each  article.  And  one  can  scarce 
see  a  new  book,  without  observing  the  excessive  artifices  made 
use  of  to  puff  up  a  paper  of  verses  into  a  pamphlet,  a 
pamphlet  into  an  octavo,  and  an  octavo  into  a  quarto,  with 
scabboardings,  white-lines,  sparse  titles  of  chapters,  and 
exorbitant  margins,  to  such  a  degree,  that  the  selling  of  paper 
seems  now  the  object,  and  printing  on  it  only  the  pretence.  I 
enclose  the  copy  of  a  page  in  a  late  comedy.  Between  every 
two  lines  there  is  a  white  space  equal  to  another  line.  You 
have  a  law,  I  think,  against  butchers  blowing  of  veal  to  make 
it  look  fatter;  why  not  one  against  booksellers'  blowing  of 
books  to  make  them  look  bigger.  All  this  to  yourself;  you 
can  easily  guess  the  reason. 

My  grandson  is  a  little  indisposed,  but  sends  you  two 
pamphlets,  Figaro,  and  Le  Roy  Voyageur.  The  first  is  a  play 
of  Beaumarchais,  which  has  had  a  great  run  here.  The 
other  a  representation  of  all  the  supposed  errors  of  govern- 
ment in  this  country,  some  of  which  are  probably  exag- 

VOL.  IX  —  X 


306       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

gerated.     It  is  not  publicly  sold;   we  shall  send  some  more 
shortly. 

Please  to  remember  me  very  respectfully  and  affectionately 
to  good  Dr.  Price.  I  am  glad  that  he  has  printed  a  transla- 
tion of  the  Testament,1  it  may  do  good.  I  am  ever,  my 
dear  friend,  yours  most  sincerely, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

Enclosed,  in  the  foregoing  Letter. 

"SCENE  IV. 
Sir  JOHN  and  WILDMORE. 

Sir  JOHN. 
Whither  so  fast? 

WILDMORE. 
To  the  Opera. 

Sir  JOHN. 
It  is  not  the ? 

WILDMORE. 

Yes  it  is. 

Sir  JOHN. 
Never  on  a  Sunday. 

WILDMORE. 
Is  this  Sunday? 

Sir  JOHN. 

Yes  sure. 

WILDMORE. 

I  remember  nothing;    I  shall  soon  forget  my  Christian 
name." 

If  this  page  was  printed  running  on  like  Erasmus's  Collo- 
quies, it  would  not  have  made  more  than  five  lines. 

1  See  letter  to  Price,  Feb.  i,  1785.  — ED. 


1785]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  307 


1558.    TO   ANTOINE-ALEXIS-FRANfOIS   CADET 
DE  VAUX1 

Passy,  April  28, 1785. 

Bra :  —  I  return  your  paper  relating  to  mais,3  which  I  have 
perused  with  pleasure.  I  am  glad  to  learn  that  good  beer 
may  be  made  of  it,  which  is  new  to  me.  I  send  herewith 
some  observations  on  the  use  of  that  grain,  of  which  you  are 
at  liberty  to  make  such  as  you  may  think  proper.  Your 
Patisseur  has  done  wonders ;  I  am  delighted  with  his  produc- 
tions, and  shall  wish  to  take  a  quantity  of  them  with  me  to 
eat  at  sea. 

With  great  esteem,  etc., 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1559.    TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  (L.  c.) 

Passy,  April  29,  1785. 
MY  DEAR  DEAR   FRIEND, 

I  believe  my  last  Letter  to  you  was  of  May  16,  1 783.*  I  am 
therefore  much  in  your  Debt  as  a  Correspondent.  I  have  now 
before  me  all  your  Letters  since  received,  and  shall  endeav- 
our as  well  as  I  can  to  answer  them.  I  confess  that  a  Man, 
who  can  leave  so  many  Letters  so  long  unanswer'd,  does  not 
deserve  so  valuable  a  Correspondence  as  yours.  But  I  am 

1  Cadet  De  Vaux  (1743-1828),  a  distinguished  chemist.  He  founded  the 
Journal  de  Paris  (1777).  Printed  from  "The  Complete  Works  of  Benjamin 
Franklin  "  (Bigelow),  Vol.  IX,  p.  99.  — ED. 

8  Sent  April  24,  1785,  to  Franklin  (A.  P.  S.).  The  paper  was  intended  for 
publication  in  the  Journal  de  Paris.  —  ED. 

*  See  letter  to  Ingenhousz,  January  16,  1784. —  ED. 


3o8        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

grown  very  old,  being  now  in  my  8oth  year ;  I  am  engag'd  in 
much  Business  that  must  not  be  neglected.  Writing  becomes 
more  and  more  irksome  to  me ;  I  grow  more  indolent ;  Philo- 
sophic Discussions,  not  being  urgent  like  Business,  are  post- 
poned from  time  to  time  till  they  are  forgotten.  Besides,  I 
have  been  these  20  Months  past  afflicted  with  the  Stone, 
which  is  always  giving  me  more  or  less  Uneasiness,  unless 
when  I  am  laid  in  Bed ;  and,  when  I  would  write,  it  interrupts 
my  Train  of  Thinking,  so  that  I  lay  down  my  Pen,  and  seek 
some  light  Amusement. 

I  hope  Mr.  Weinbrenner's  Agent  succeeded  in  his  Voyage 
to  America.  Too  much  Goods  have  been  sent  there  since 
the  Peace  from  all  Parts  of  Europe  which  has  overstock'd 
the  Market  and  made  the  Prices  so  low  as  to  afford  but  little 
Profit  &  sometimes  none  to  the  Adventurers.  Time  and 
Experience  will  bring  the  Commerce  into  a  more  regular 
Train. 

I  consent  to  your  request  concerning  my  Paper  on  the 
Weathercock  struck  by  Lightning.  Dispose  of  it  as  you 
please. 

You  will  find  an  Ace*  of  the  first  great  Stroke  I  received, 
in  pages  161,  162,  of  my  Book,  5th  Edition,  1774.  The 
second  I  will  now  give  you.  I  had  a  Paralytick  Patient  in 
my  Chamber,  whose  Friends  brought  him  to  receive  some 
Electric  Shocks.  I  made  them  join  Hands  so  as  to  receive 
the  Shock  at  the  same  time,  and  I  charg'd  two  large  Jars  to 
give  it.  By  the  Number  of  those  People,  I  was  oblig'd  to 
quit  my  usual  Standing,  and  plac'd  myself  inadvertently  under 
an  Iron  Hook  which  hung  from  the  Cieling  down  to  within 
two  Inches  of  my  Head,  and  communicated  by  a  Wire  with 
the  outside  of  the  Jars.  I  attempted  to  discharge  them,  and 


1785]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  309 

in  fact  did  so ;  but  I  did  not  perceive  it,  tho'  the  charge  went 
thro'  me,  and  not  through  the  Persons  I  entended  it  for.  I 
neither  saw  the  Flash,  heard  the  Report,  nor  felt  the  Stroke. 
When  my  Senses  returned,  I  found  myself  on  the  Floor.  I  got 
up,  not  knowing  how  that  had  happened.  I  then  again 
attempted  to  discharge  the  Jars;  but  one  of  the  Company 
told  me  they  were  already  discharg'd,  which  I  could  not  at 
first  believe,  but  on  Trial  found  it  true.  They  told  me  they 
had  not  felt  it,  but  they  saw  I  was  knock'd  down  by  it, 
which  had  greatly  surprised  them.  On  recollecting  myself, 
and  examining  my  Situation,  I  found  the  Case  clear.  A 
small  swelling  rose  on  the  Top  of  my  Head,  which  continued 
sore  for  some  Days ;  but  I  do  not  remember  any  other  Effect 
good  or  bad. 

The  Stroke  you  received,  and  its  Consequences,  are  much 
more  curious.  I  communicated  that  Part  of  your  Letter  to  an 
Operator,  encourag'd  by  Government  here  to  electrify  epi- 
leptic and  other  poor  Patients,  and  ad  vis' d  his  trying  the 
Practice  on  mad  People  according  to  your  Opinion.  I  have 
not  heard  whether  he  has  done  it. 

It  is  so  long  since  you  wrote  the  Letters  I  am  answering 
that  I  am  apprehensive  you  may  have  forgotten  some  of  the 
Particulars,  and  that  thereby  my  Answers  may  be  unin- 
telligible. I  therefore  mark  the  Dates  of  your  Letters  in  the 
Margin,  that  if  you  kept  Copies  you  may  recur  to  them. 

Lady  Dowager  Perm  *  was  here  about  the  Time  of  the 
Treaty,  and  made  Application  to  me  with  great  Complaints, 
but  I  found  she  was  not  well  inform'd  of  the  State  of  her 
Affairs,  and  could  not  clearly  show  that  she  had  suffer'd  any 

1  Lady  Juliana  Fennor,  daughter  of  the  Earl  of  Pomfret,  married  to  Thomas 
Penn  in  1751.  —  ED. 


310        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

Injury  from  the  Publick  of  Pennsylvania,  whatever  she  might 
from  the  Agents  of  the  Family.  Her  Husband's  Lands,  I 
understand,  were  not  confiscated  as  represented;  but  the 
Proprietary  Government  falling  with  that  of  the  Crown,  the 
Assembly  took  the  Opportunity  of  insisting  upon  Justice  in 
some  Points,  which  they  could  never  obtain  under  that  Gov- 
ernment. A  kind  of  Compromise  then  was  made  between  the 
Assembly  &  the  Family,  whereby  all  the  vacant  Lots  and 
unappropriated  wilderness  Lands  were  to  be  thenceforth  in 
the  Disposition  of  the  Assembly,  who  were  to  pay  £130,000 
Sterling  to  the  Family  within  3  Years  after  the  Peace,  all 
other  Demands  on  both  sides  being  thus  abolished.  I  am 
told  that  this  Arrangement  was  satisfactory  to  most  of  them. 
But  as  the  Lady  intended  to  send  her  Son  over  to  solicit  her 
Interests,  I  gave  him  a  Letter  of  Recommendation  to  the 
Governor,  proposing  it  for  Consideration  whether  it  might 
not  be  adviseable  to  reconsider  the  Matter,  and  if  the  sum  of 
£130,000  should  be  found  insufficient,  to  make  a  proper 
Addition.  I  have  not  heard  what  has  since  been  done  in  the 
Affair,  or  whether  any  thing.  In  my  own  Judgment,  when  I 
consider  that  for  near  80  Years,  viz.,  from  the  Year  1700, 
William  Penn  and  his  Sons  receiv'd  the  Quit-rents  which  were 
originally  granted  for  the  Support  of  Government,  and  yet 
refused  to  support  the  Government,  obliging  the  People  to 
make  a  fresh  Provision  for  its  Support  all  that  Time,  which 
cost  them  vast  Sums,  as  the  most  necessary  Laws  were  not  to 
be  obtain'd  but  at  the  Price  of  making  such  Provision ;  when 
I  consider  the  Meanness  and  cruel  Avarice  of  the  late  Pro- 
prietor, in  refusing  for  several  Years  of  War,  to  consent  to 
any  Defence  of  the  Frontiers  ravaged  all  the  while  by  the 
Enemy,  unless  his  Estate  should  be  exempted  from  paying 


1785]  .       TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  311 

any  Part  of  the  Expence,  not  to  mention  other  Atrocities  too 
long  for  this  Letter,  I  cannot  but  think  the  Family  well  off, 
and  that  it  will  be  prudent  in  them  to  take  the  Money  and  be 
quiet.  William  Penn,  the  First  Proprietor,  Father  of  Thomas, 
the  Husband  of  the  present  Dowager,  was  a  wise  and  good 
Man,  and  as  honest  to  the  People  as  the  extream  Distress  of 
his  Circumstances  would  permit  him  to  be,  but  the  said 
Thomas  was  a  miserable  Churl,  always  intent  upon  Griping 
and  Saving ;  and  whatever  Good  the  Father  may  have  done 
for  the  Province  was  amply  undone  by  the  Mischief  receiv'd 
from  the  Son,  who  never  did  any  thing  that  had  the  Appear- 
ance of  Generosity  or  Public  Spirit  but  what  was  extorted 
from  him  by  Solicitation  and  the  Shame  of  Backwardness  in 
Benefits  evidently  incumbent  on  him  to  promote,  and  which 
was  done  at  last  in  the  most  ungracious  manner  possible.  The 
Lady's  Complaints  of  not  duly  receiving  her  Revenues  from 
America  are  habitual;  they  were  the  same  during  all  the 
Time  of  my  long  Residence  in  London,  being  then  made  by 
her  Husband  as  Excuses  for  the  Meanness  of  his  House- 
keeping and  his  Deficiency  in  Hospitality,  tho'  I  knew  at  the 
same  time  that  he  was  then  in  full  Receipt  of  vast  Sums 
annually  by  the  Sale  of  Lands,  Interest  of  Money,  and  Quit- 
rents.  But  probably  he  might  conceal  this  from  his  Lady 
to  induce  greater  Economy  as  it  is  known  that  he  ordered  no 
more  of  his  Income  home  than  was  absolutely  necessary  for 
his  Subsistence,  but  plac'd  it  at  Interest  in  Pennsylvania  & 
the  Jerseys,  where  he  could  have  6  and  7  per  Cent.,  while 
Money  bore  no  more  than  5  per  cent,  in  England.  I  us'd 
often  to  hear  of  these  Complaints  and  laugh  at  them,  per- 
ceiving clearly  their  Motive.  They  serv'd  him  on  other  as 
well  as  on  domestic  Occasions.  You  remember  our  Rector 


3i2        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

of  St.  Martin's  Parish,  Dr.  Saunders.  He  once  went  about, 
during  a  long  and  severe  Frost,  soliciting  charitable  Con- 
tributions to  purchase  Coals  for  poor  Families.  He  came 
among  others  to  me,  and  I  gave  him  something.  It  was  but 
little,  very  little,  and  yet  it  occasion'd  him  to  remark,  "You 
are  more  bountiful  on  this  Occasion  than  your  wealthy 
Proprietary,  Mr.  Penn,  but  he  tells  me  he  is  distress'd  by  not 
receiving  his  Incomes  from  America."  The  Incomes  of  the 
family  there  must  still  be  very  great,  for  they  have  a  Number 
of  Manors  consisting  of  the  best  Lands,  which  are  preserved 
to  them,  and  vast  Sums  at  Interest  well  secur'd  by  Mortgages; 
so  that  if  the  Dowager  does  not  receive  her  Proportion,  there 
must  be  some  Fault  in  her  Agents.  You  will  perceive  by  the 
length  of  this  Article  that  I  have  been  a  little  echaufit  by  her 
making  the  Complaints  you  mention  to  the  Princess  Dow- 
ager of  Lichtenstein  at  Vienna.  The  Lady  herself  is  good  & 
amiable,  and  I  should  be  glad  to  serve  her  in  any  thing  just 
and  reasonable ;  but  I  do  not  at  present  see  that  I  can  do 
more  than  I  have  done. 

As  to  Wharton,  I  am  amaz'd  at  his  Conduct  towards  you. 
Dr  Bancroft  tells  me,  that  he  believes  your  Money  is  spent, 
&  that  Wharton  has  it  not  at  present  to  pay :  But  that  he  has 
Lands,  &  enjoys  a  profitable  Office;  so  that  he  has  hopes, 
that  he  may  pay  in  time.  In  my  Opinion,  you  would  do  well 
to  make  the  Voyage,  and  when  there  you  may  at  least  obtain 
some  Land.  The  Emperor  will  be  good  enough  to  give 
you  leave  to  accompany  your  old  Friend.  I  purpose  return- 
ing to  America  in  the  ensuing  summer,  and  shall  be  happy  to 
have  your  Company.  But  if  this  cannot  be,  send  me  your 
Power  of  Attorney  or  Procuration  with  what  Proofs  you  have 
of  the  Debt,  and  I  will  do  my  best  Endeavours  when  there 
to  recover  it  for  you. 


Louis  XVI  AND  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN. 

From  a  statuette,  formerly  at  Champlost  and  now  in  the  possession  of  Miss  Sophia 
Irwin,  a  descendant  of  Benjamin  Franklin. 


1785]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  313 

Your  Ideas  of  the  long  Conservation  possible  of  the  Infec- 
tion of  some  Diseases,  appear  to  me  well-founded.  I  heard 
in  England  of  one  Instance.  In  a  Country  Village  where  the 
Small  Pox  had  not  been  for  30  Years,  a  Grave  was  opened  for 
the  Interment  of  a  Person  dead  of  some  common  Distemper, 
whose  Funeral  was  accompanied  by  most  of  the  Inhabitants 
of  the  Village.  The  Grave  digger,  had  in  his  Operation  broke 
the  Coffin  of  a  neighbouring  Corpse  which  had  dy'd  of  the 
Small  Pox  thirty  years  before.  Those  who  attended  the 
Ceremony  of  the  Interment  were  sensible  of  a  bad  Smell 
issuing  from  the  Grave,  and  after  some  Days  were  all  taken 
down  with  that  Distemper.  You  may  yourself  remember  a 
stronger  Instance.  It  happen'd  during  my  Absence  from 
England  between  August  1762  and  December  1764,  and 
therefore  I  may  not  be  perfect  in  the  Circumstances.  A 
Number  of  Physicians,  as  I  heard,  amus'd  themselves  with 
the  Dissection  of  an  Egyptian  Mummy,  which  must  have 
been  more  than  Two  Thousand  Years  old,  and  several  of 
them  dyd  soon  after  of  putrid  Fevers,  suspected  to  be  caught 
at  that  Dissection. 

The  Circumstances  of  the  Royalists  in  the  United  States 
are  daily  mending,  as  the  Minds  of  People  irritated  by  the 
Burning  of  their  Towns  and  Massacre  of  their  Friends,  begin 
to  cool.  A  Stop  is  put  to  all  Prosecutions  against  them,  and 
in  time  their  Offences  will  be  forgotten.  By  our  last  Ad- 
vices from  thence  the  Government  acquires  continually  more 
Consistence,  and  every  thing  is  getting  into  the  best  Order. 
The  English  still  misrepresent  us  and  our  Situation :  relating 
things  as  they  wish  them  rather  than  as  they  are.  But  be 
assured  our  People  are  happy  in  the  Change,  &  have  not  the 
least  Inclination  to  return  to  the  Dominion  of  Britain. 


3I4       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

{Letter  of  Sept.  i.  83.]  I  immediately  sent  to  Mr.  Bartram 
our  celebrated  Botanist  of  Pennsylvania,  the  Orders  of  Count 
Chotck  for  a  quantity  of  American  Seeds.  It  came  so  late  to 
me,  that  it  was  impossible  it  should  arrive  there  in  time  to 
make  the  Collection  of  Seeds  of  the  Year  1783,  conse- 
quently it  would  be  necessary  to  wait  for  those  that  would  be 
ripe  in  the  Autumn  of  1784.  But  having  then  in  hand  a  Box 
of  Seeds  obtain'd  from  him  at  the  Request  of  some  Friends 
here ;  I  divided  them,  and  Sent  you  some  of  each  Sort.  I 
delivered  them  to  the  Bishop  Nekrep,  who  said  he  had  a  good 
Opportunity  of  forwarding  them,  and  that  he  would  do  it 
with  Pleasure.  I  thought  you  might  oblige  your  Friend  the 
Count  with  those  for  the  present,  as  they  would  be  in  time 
for  Planting  in  the  Spring  of  1784.  But  I  never  heard 
whether  you  receiv'd  them.  I  had  a  Letter  last  Winter  from 
my  Son-in-law,  Mr  Bache,  acquainting  me  that  Mr.  Bartram 
had  brought  the  box  of  Seeds  to  him,  which  he  should  pay  for; 
but  that  he  was  uncertain  whether  he  ought  to  send  it  by  way 
of  Holland  as  ordered,  the  Newspapers  having  announced 
a  War  between  the  Emperor  and  that  State,  which  might 
obstruct  its  passage  to  Vienna.  I  wrote  to  him  in  answer, 
that  he  should  nevertheless  comply  with  the  Order,  and 
immediately,  lest  the  Seeds  should  arrive  too  late  for  plant- 
ing this  Season,  so  that  I  hope  they  may  be  now  in  Holland, 
tho'  I  have  heard  nothing  further.  I  enclose  a  Copy  of  the 
List  of  those  sent  you,  except  some  Deficiencys. 

[Letter  o)  Nov.  19.  83.]  I  thank  you  much  for  your  good 
Wishes  of  Repose  and  Tranquility  for  me  in  my  latter  Years, 
and  for  your  kind  invitation  to  come  and  see  you  at  Vienna. 
I  have  sufficient  Inclination  but  my  Malady  the  Stone,  which 
for  20  Months  past  has  disabled  me  from  using  a  Carriage, 


1785]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  315 

is  an  insuperable  Obstruction  to  such  a  Journey.  I  know  we 
should  be  happy  together,  and  therefore  repeat  my  Proposition 
that  you  should  ask  Leave  of  the  Emperor  to  let  you  come 
and  live  with  me  during  the  little  Remainder  of  Life  that 
is  left  me.  I  am  confident  his  Goodness  would  grant  your 
Request.  You  will  be  at  no  expence  while  with  me  in 
America;  you  will  recover  your  Debt  from  Wharton,  and 
you  will  make  me  happy.  I  am  glad  you  received  the  Bill 
of  8000  Livres  from  him,  which  went  thro'  my  Hands.  I 
wish  your  Application  of  it  in  an  East  Indian  Adventure 
may  be  more  advantagious  to  you  than  your  Adventure  to 
the  West. 

I  know  not  the  Situation  here  of  your  Book,  as  I  rarely  see 
M.  le  Begue,  he  living  much  in  the  Country :  but  I  am  sorry 
for  your  sake  as  well  as  that  of  the  Publick,  that  its  Publica- 
tion is  so  long  delay 'd. 

As  soon  as  I  return  to  Philadelphia,  I  shall  procure  your 
Election  as  a  Member  of  our  Philosophical  Society.  I  do  not 
know  any  Choice  that  will  do  them  more  Honour. 

As  the  American  Newspapers  seem  to  afford  you  Pleasure,  I 
have  sent  you  some  more  by  the  Baron  de  Windischgratz,  who 
was  so  kind  as  to  undertake  the  forwarding  them  to  you.  I 
gave  him  also  two  little  Pieces  of  my  Writing. 

[Letter  of  Jan.  2.  84.}  I  imagine  that  I  did  answer  this 
Letter  before,  tho'  I  find  no  Note  of  such  Answer.  I  think 
I  dissuaded  you  from  being  concern'd  in  any  Project  for  rais- 
ing a  Balloon  as  if  it  should  happen  by  any  Accident  not 
succeed,  it  might  expose  you  to  Ridicule,  &  hurt  your  Repu- 
tation. I  was  glad  to  hear  that  you  declin'd  it. 

[Letter  of  Jan.  14.  84.]  I  receiv'd  this  Letter,  said  to  be 
sent  by  the  Countess  de  Fries.  I  should  have  been  glad 


3i6        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

of  any  Opportunity  of  showing  Civility  to  a  Friend  of  yours, 
and  of  so  amiable  a  Character. 

[Letter  of  Feb.  10.  84.]  The  Prelate  of  Nekrep  appeared  a 
very  good  sort  of  Man.  I  show'd  him  all  the  Respect  in  my 
Power.  I  think  I  must  have  written  to  you  by  him,  but  I  do 
not  find  any  Copy  of  the  Letter,  and  remember  nothing  of 
the  Contents.  My  Memory  is  indeed  sensibly  impaired.  I 
was  sorry  to  hear  of  his  Death. 

I  do  not  know  that  my  Contrivance  of  a  Clock  with  3  Wheels 
only,  which  show'd  Hours,  Minutes  and  Seconds,  has  ever 
been  publish'd.  I  have  seen  several  of  them  here  at  Paris 
that  were  made  by  Mr.  Whitehurst,  and  sent  over  I  believe 
by  Mr.  Magellan.  You  are  welcome  to  do  what  you  please 
with  it.  Mr.  Whitehurst's  Invention  is  very  simple,  and 
should  be  very  effectual,  provided  the  foot  of  the  Rod  and  the 
Situation  of  the  Clock  are  invariably  fix'd,  so  as  never  to  be  at 
a  greater  or  less  Distance  from  one  another,  which  may  be 
by  fixing  both  in  a  strait-grain'd  Piece  of  Wood  of  about  4 
feet  long;  Wood  not  changing  its  Dimensions  the  length  way 
of  the  Grain,  by  any  common  degree  of  Heat  or  Cold.  But 
this  cannot  be  trusted  to  the  Wood  of  a  Clock- Case,  because 
in  Sawing  Boards  the  Grain  is  frequently  cross'd,  and  Mois- 
ture and  Dryness  will  change  their  Dimensions. 

You  are  at  liberty  also  to  publish  if  you  think  fit  the  Ex- 
periment of  the  Globe  floating  between  two  Liquors.  I  sup- 
pose you  remember  to  have  seen  it  on  my  Chimney-piece. 
Tho'  it  is  a  matter  of  no  Utility.  Something  of  the  same 
nature  has  been  done  more  than  100  Years  since  by  another 
Person,  I  forget  who. 

What  I  formerly  mention'd  to  you  of  hanging  a  Weight  on 
a  spiral  Spring,  to  discover  if  Bodies  gravitated  differently 


1785]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  317 

to  the  Earth  during  the  Conjunctions  of  the  Sun  and  Moon, 
compar'd  with  other  Times,  was  this.  We  suppose,  that,  by 
the  Force  of  Gravity  in  those  Luminaries,  the  Water  of  the 
Ocean,  an  immense  Weight,  is  elevated  so  as  to  form  the 
Tides;  if  that  be  so,  might  we  not  expect,  that  an  iron  Ball 
of  a  pound  suspended  by  a  fine  spiral  Spring,  should,  when 
the  Sun  and  Moon  are  together  both  above  it,  be  a  little  at- 
tracted upwards  or  rendered  lighter,  so  as  to  be  drawn  up 
a  little  by  the  Spring  on  which  it  depends,  and  the  contrary 
when  they  are  both  below  it.  The  Quantity,  tho'  very  small, 
might  perhaps  be  rendred  visible  by  a  Contrivance  like  the 
above.  It  is  not  difficult  to  make  this  Experiment,  but  I  have 
never  made  it.  With  regard  to  the  Tides,  I  doubt  the  Opin- 
ion of  there  being  but  two  High  Waters  and  two  Low  Waters 
existing  at  the  same  time  on  the  Globe.  I  rather  think  there 
are  many,  and  those  at  the  Distance  of  about  100  Leagues 
from  each  other.  The  Tides  found  in  the  River  Amazones 
seem  to  favour  this  Opinion.  Observations  hereafter  in  the 
Isles  of  the  Pacific  Ocean  may  confirm  or  refute  it. 

If  I  were  in  a  Situation  where  I  could  be  a  little  more  Master 
of  my  Time,  I  would  as  you  desire,  write  my  Ideas  on  the 
Subject  of  Chimneys.  They  might  I  think  be  useful.  For 
by  what  I  see  everywhere  the  Subject  seems  too  little  under- 
stood, which  occasions  much  Inconvenience  &  fruitless 
Expence.  But  besides  being  harass'd  with  too  much  Business, 
I  am  expos'd  to  numberless  Visits,  some  of  Kindness  and 
Civility,  many  of  mere  idle  Curiosity,  from  Strangers  of 
America  &  of  different  Parts  of  Europe,  as  well  as  the  In- 
habitants of  the  Provinces  who  come  to  Paris.  These  devour 
my  Hours,  and  break  my  Attention,  and  at  Night  I  often 
find  myself  fatigu'd  without  having  done  any  thing.  Celebrity 


3i8       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

may  for  a  while  flatter  one's  Vanity,  but  its  Effects  are 
troublesome.  I  have  begun  to  write  two  or  three  Things, 
which  I  wish  to  finish  before  I  die;  but  I  sometimes  doubt 
the  possibility. 

I  thank  you  much  for  the  Postscript  respecting  my  Dis- 
order, the  Stone.  I  have  taken  heretofore,  and  am  now 
again  taking  the  Remedy  you  mention,  which  is  called 
Blackrie's  Solvent.  It  is  the  Soap  Lie,  with  Lime  Water,  and 
I  believe  it  may  have  some  Effect  in  diminishing  the  Symp- 
toms, and  preventing  the  Growth  of  the  Stone,  which  is  all 
I  expect  from  it.  It  does  not  hurt  my  Appetite ;  I  sleep  well, 
and  enjoy  my  Friends  in  chearful  Conversation  as  usual. 
But,  as  I  cannot  use  much  Exercise,  I  eat  more  sparingly  than 
formerly,  and  I  drink  no  Wine. 

I  admire  that  you  should  be  so  timid  in  asking  Leave  of 
your  good  imperial  Master  to  make  a  Journey  for  visiting 
a  Friend.  I  am  persuaded  you  would  succeed,  and  I  hope 
the  Proposition  I  have  made  you  in  this  Letter  will  assist 
your  Courage,  and  enable  you  to  ask  and  obtain.  If  you 
come  here  soon,  you  may  when  present  get  your  Book  fin- 
ish'd,  and  be  ready  to  proceed  with  me  to  America.  While 
writing  this,  I  have  receiv'd  from  Congress  my  Leave  to  re- 
turn ;  and  I  believe  I  shall  be  ready  to  embark  by  the  middle 
of  July,  at  farthest.  I  shall  now  be  free  of  Politicks  for  the 
Rest  of  my  Life.  Welcome  again  my  dear  Philosophical 
Amusements. 

I  see  by  a  full  Page  of  your  Letter,  that  you  have  been  pos- 
sess'd  with  strange  Ideas  of  America ;  that  there  is  no  Jus- 
tice to  be  obtained  there,  no  Recovery  of  Debts,  Projects  of 
Insurrection  to  overturn  the  present  Government,  &c.  &c. ; 
that  a  Virginia  Colonel  Nephew  of  the  Governor  had  cheated 


1785]  TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  319 

a  Stranger  of  100,000  Livres,  and  that  somebody  was  im- 
prisoned for  only  speaking  of  it ;  that  Dr  Bancroft  was  afraid 
of  Mr.  Wharton's  Power,  and  the  like  very  improbable  Stories. 
As  to  Dr.  Bancroft  he  gave  me  no  such  Reason  for  not  recov- 
ering his  Money,  nor  any  other  but  Wharton's  present  In- 
ability; and  for  the  rest  believe  me  they  are  all  Fictions  or 
Misrepresentations.  If  they  were  Truths,  all  Strangers 
would  avoid  such  a  Country,  and  foreign  Merchants  would 
as  soon  carry  their  Goods  to  sell  in  Newgate  as  to  America. 
Think  a  little  on  the  Sums  England  has  spent  to  preserve  a 
Monopoly  of  the  Trade  of  that  People,  with  whom  they  had 
long  been  acquainted,  and  of  the  Desire  all  Europe  is  now 
manifesting  to  obtain  a  Share  of  that  Trade.  Our  Ports 
are  full  of  their  Ships,  their  Merchants  buying  and  selling  in 
our  Streets  continually,  and  returning  with  our  Products. 
Would  this  happen?  Could  such  Commerce  be  continu'd 
with  us,  if  we  were  such  a  Collection  of  Scoundrels  and  Villains 
as  we  have  been  represented  to  you?  And  Insurrections 
against  our  Rulers  are  not  only  unlikely,  as  the  Rulers  are 
the  Choice  of  the  People,  but  unnecessary;  as,  if  not  lik'd, 
they  may  be  chang'd  annually  by  the  new  Elections. 

I  own  you  have  Cause,  great  Cause  to  complain  of  Wharton, 
but  you  are  wrong  to  condemn  a  whole  Country  by  a  single 
Sample.  I  have  seen  many  Countries,  &  I  do  not  know  a 
Country  in  the  World  in  which  Justice  is  so  well  administ'red, 
where  Protection  and  Favour  have  so  little  Power  to  impede 
its  Operations,  and  where  Debts  are  recovered  with  so  much 
Facility.  If  I  thought  it  such  a  Country  as  it  has  been 
painted  to  you,  I  should  certainly  never  return  to  it.  The 
Truth  I  believe  is,  that  more  Goods  have  been  carried  thither 
from  all  Parts  of  Europe,  than  the  Consumption  of  the  Coun- 


320        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

try  requires,  &  it  is  natural  that  some  of  the  Adventurers 
are  willing  to  discourage  others  from  following  them,  lest 
the  Prices  should  still  be  kept  down  by  the  Arrival  of  fresh 
Cargoes;  and  it  is  not  unlikely,  that  some  negligent  or  un- 
faithful Factors  sent  thither,  may  have  given  such  Accounts 
to  excuse  their  not  making  Remittances.  And  the  English 
magnify  all  this,  and  spread  it  abroad  in  their  Papers,  to 
dissuade  Foreigners  from  attempting  to  interfere  with  them 
in  their  Commerce  with  us. 

Your  Account  of  the  Emperor's  condescending  Conver- 
sation with  you  concerning  me,  is  pleasing.  I  respect  very 
much  the  Character  of  that  Monarch,  and  think,  that,  if 
I  were  one  of  his  Subjects,  he  would  find  me  a  good  One.  I 
am  glad  that  his  Difference  with  your  Country  is  likely  to 
be  accommodated  without  Bloodshed.  The  Courier  de 
VEurope,  and  some  other  Papers,  printed  a  Letter  on  that 
Difference,  which  they  ascrib'd  to  me.  Be  assured  my 
Friend  that  I  never  wrote  it,  nor  was  ever  presumptuous 
enough  to  meddle  with  an  Affair  so  much  out  of  my  way. 

All  the  Letters  you  at  any  time  enclos'd  to  me  have  been 
faithfully  forwarded.  I  obtained  from  Mr.  Williams  an 
Answer  which  I  enclose.  I  am  asham'd  I  have  kept  it  so 
long ;  but  I  had  put  it  among  your  Letters,  intending  to  send 
it  with  the  first  I  should  write  to  you,  and  that  has  been  too 
long  delay 'd. 

Mesmer  continues  here  and  has  still  some  Adherents  and 
some  Practice.  It  is  surprizing  how  much  Credulity  still 
subsists  in  the  World.  I  suppose  all  the  Physicians  in 
France  put  together  have  not  made  so  much  Money  during 
the  Time  he  has  been  here,  as  he  has  done.  And  we  have 
now  a  fresh  Folly.  A  Magnetiser  pretends  that  he  can  by 


1785]  TO   COMTE  DE   VERGENNES  321 

establishing  what  is  called  a  Rapport  between  any  Person 
and  a  Somnambule,  put  it  in  the  Power  of  that  Person  to 
direct  the  Actions  of  the  Somnambule,  by  a  simple  strong 
Volition  only,  without  Speaking  or  making  any  Signs;  and 
many  People  daily  flock  to  see  this  strange  Operation ! 

Your  last  did  not  reach  me  till  long  after  its  Date.  I  have 
spent  some  Days  in  writing  this.  It  is  now  the  2d  of  May,  and 
I  shall  not  be  able  to  forward  it  till  by  Thursday's  Post,  the 
5th  Instant.  If  in  the  meantime  I  can  learn  anything  respect- 
ing the  Publication  of  your  Book  I  will  add  it  in  a  Postscript. 
Rejoice  with  me,  my  dear  Friend,  that  I  am  once  more  a 
Freeman :  after  Fifty  Years  Service  in  Public  Affairs.  And 
let  me  know  soon  if  you  will  make  me  happy  the  little  Re- 
mainder left  me  of  my  Life,  by  spending  the  Time  with  me 
in  America. 

I  have  Instruments  if  the  Enemy  did  not  destroy  them 
all,  and  we  will  make  Plenty  of  Experiments  together. 
Believe  me  ever, 

Yours  most  affectionately 

B.  F. 


1560.    TO   COMTE  DE  VERGENNES     (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  3,  1785. 

SIR, 

I  have  the  honour  to  acquaint  your  Excellency,  that  I 
have  at  length  obtain'd,  and  yesterday  receiv'd,  the  Permis- 
sion of  Congress  to  return  to  America.  As  my  Malady 
makes  it  impracticable  for  me  to  pay  my  Devoirs  at  Ver- 
sailles personally,  may  I  beg  the  favour  of  you,  Sir,  to  express 
respectfully  for  me  to  his  Majesty,  the  deep  Sense  I  have  of 

VOL.  IX  —  Y 


322        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

all  the  inestimable  Benefits  his  Goodness  has  conferr'd  on 
my  Country ;  a  Sentiment  that  it  will  be  the  Business  of  the 
little  Remainder  of  Life  now  left  me,  to  impress  equally  on 
the  Minds  of  all  my  Countrymen.  My  sincere  Prayers  are, 
that  God  may  shower  down  his  Blessings  on  the  King,  the 
Queen,  their  Children,  and  all  the  royal  Family  to  the  latest 
Generations ! 

Permit  me,  at  the  same  time,  to  offer  you  my  thankful 
Acknowledgments  for  the  Protection  and  Countenance  you 
afforded  me  at  my  Arrival,  and  your  many  Favours  during 
my  Residence  here,  of  which  I  shall  always  retain  the  most 
grateful  Remembrance.  My  Grandson  would  have  had  the 
honour  of  waiting  on  you  with  this  Letter,  but  he  has  been 
some  time  ill  of  a  Fever. 

With  the  greatest  Esteem  and  Respect,  and  best  Wishes 
for  the  constant  Prosperity  of  yourself,  and  all  your  amiable 
family,  I  am,  Sir,  your  Excellency's  most  obedient  and  most 

humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1561.    TO  MRS.  MARY  HEWSON1      (P.  c.) 

Passy,  May  5,  1785. 
MY  DEAR,   DEAR   FRIEND, 

I  receiv'd  your  little  Letter  from  Dover,  which  gave  me 
great  Pleasure,  as  it  inform'd  me  of  your  happy  Progress  so 
far  in  your  way  home.  I  hope  the  rest  of  your  Journey  was 
as  prosperous.2 

You  talk  of  Obligations  to  me,  when  in  fact  I  am  the 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.  —  ED. 

2  Mrs.  Hewson  and  her  children  had  spent  the  winter  with  Dr.  Franklin 
at  Passy.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  MRS.  MARY  HEWSON  323 

Person  oblig'd.  I  pass'd  a  long  Winter,  in  a  manner  that  made 
it  appear  the  shortest  of  any  I  ever  past.  Such  is  the  Effect 
of  pleasing  Society,  with  Friends  one  loves. 

I  have  now  receiv'd  my  Permission  to  return,  and  am 
making  my  Preparations.  I  hope  to  get  away  in  June.  I 
promise  myself,  or  rather  flatter  myself,  that  I  shall  be  happy 
when  at  home.  But,  however  happy  that  Circumstance  may 
make  me,  your  joining  me  there  will  surely  make  me  happier, 
provided  your  Change  of  Country  may  be  for  the  advantage 
of  your  dear  little  Family.  When  you  have  made  up  your 
Mind  on  the  Subject,  let  me  know  by  a  Line,  that  I  may  pre- 
pare a  House  for  you  as  near  me,  and  otherwise  as  convenient 
for  you,  as  possible. 

My  Neighbours  begin  to  come  out  from  Paris,  and  replace 
themselves  in  their  Passy  Houses.  They  enquire  after  you, 
and  are  sorry  you  are  gone  before  they  could  make  themselves 
known  to  you.  For  those  who  did  know  you  speak  well  of 
you.  M.  le  Veillard,  in  particular,  has  told  me  at  different 
times,  what  indeed  I  knew  long  since,  C'est  une  bien  digne 
Femme,  cette  Madame  Hewson,  une  trts  aimable  Femme. 
I  would  not  tell  you  this  if  I  thought  it  would  make  you 
vain  —  er  than  you  are ;  but  that  is  impossible ;  you  have 
too  much  good  Sense. 

So  wish  me  a  good  Voyage,  and,  when  you  pray  at  Church 
for  all  that  travel  by  Land  or  Sea,  think  of  your  ever  affec- 
tionate Friend, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  My  love  to  William,  and  Thomas,  and  Eliza,  and 
tell  them  I  miss  their  chearful  Prattle.  Temple  being  sick, 
and  Benjamin  at  Paris,  I  have  found  it  very  triste  breakfasting 
alone,  and  sitting  alone,  and  without  any  Tea  in  the  Evening. 


324       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

1562.    TO   JONATHAN  WILLIAMS1       (P.  c.) 

Passy  May  5.  1785 
DEAR  JONATHAN 

I  wrote  you  some  Days  since,  and  enclos'd  you  several 
Letters  I  had  received  respecting  your  Affairs.  Enclos'd 
is  another  which  came  to  hand  this  Morning.  You  will  let 
me  know  what  I  should  say  to  this  Man.  He  has  shown  me 
a  Letter  of  yours  ordering  the  Goods  and  undertaking  to 
pay  for  them. 

I  have  at  length  received  my  long-expected  Permission  to 
return  to  America,  and  I  am  preparing  for  my  Departure, 
tho'  I  have  not  yet  determined  how  I  shall  go.  It  is  now 
said  that  the  May  Packet  is  the  last  to  go  from  L' Orient, 
and  that  the  June  Packet  and  all  succeeding  ones  are  to  go 
from  Havre.  I  incline  (if  this  is  true,  and  no  better  means 
offers)  to  go  in  the  June  Packet.  But  there  is  a  Mr.  Ger- 
vaise  from  Boston  who  tells  me  that  a  fine  new  Ship  of  Peck's 
Construction,  400  Tons  Burthen  will  sail  from  Holland  for 
Boston  in  July;  and  that  he  has  no  doubt  the  Captain  will 
be  prevail'd  on  to  call  for  me  and  my  Family  at  Havre,  to 
which  Place  I  can  go  by  Water ;  and  that  he  will  talk  with 
the  Captain  on  the  Subject  as  soon  as  he  arrives  in  Holland, 
which  will  be  in  a  few  Days  and  write  me  Word  whether  he 
will  undertake  it  and  on  what  Terms. 

I  have  indeed  no  great  Objection  to  landing  in  Boston, 
as  tho'  there  will  then  be  another  Voyage  to  get  home,  I 
shall  have  the  Pleasure  of  seeing  Friends  once  more,  whom 
otherwise  I  may  never  see.  But  as  this  Project  may  not 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Louis  A.  Biddle,  Esq.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  JOHN  JAY  325 

answer  I  wish  you  would  enquire  and  inform  me  whether 
there  are  any  good  Vessels  bound  from  London  to  Boston, 
N.  York,  or  Philadelphia  or  Baltimore  to  sail  in  June,  that 
would  take  us  at  Havre.  I  shall  need  the  most  comfortable 
Accommodation  the  Ship  can  afford,  being  so  old  and  infirm, 
and  I  expect  to  pay  accordingly.  There  will  be  myself  and 
two  Grandsons  at  least,  perhaps  another  Person,  and  two 
Servants.  I  shall  have  also  with  me  four  [mutilated]  Tons 
perhaps  of  Goods.  And  if  it  will  suit  [mutilated]  to  go  with 
us  so  much  the  better.  The  sooner  you  give  me  the  Infor- 
mation you  can  collect  the  more  satisfactory  it  will  be,  as 
it  will  enable  me  sooner  to  make  my  Determination.  As  to 
Mrs.  Hewson's  Family  I  know  not  yet  whether  she  ever  in- 
tends going  to  America  but  as  she  intends  a  Journey  to  York- 
shire, it  is  not  probable  she  can  make  the  American  Voyage 
this  Summer.  Billy  is  better  and  sends  his  Love.  I  am  ever 

Your  affectionate  Uncle 
B.  FRANKLIN. 

1563.    TO   JOHN  JAY1  (L.C.) 

Passy,  May  10,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  the  8th  of  March,  enclosing 
the  Resolution  of  Congress,  permitting  my  Return  to  America, 
for  which  I  am  very  thankful,  and  am  now  preparing  to 
depart  the  first  good  Opportunity.  Next  to  the  Pleasure  of 
rejoining  my  own  Family  will  be  that  of  seeing  you  and  yours 
well  and  happy,  and  embracing  once  more  my  little  Friend, 
whose  singular  Attachment  to  me  I  shall  always  remember. 

1  Mr.  Jay  was  at  this  time  Secretary  of  Foreign  Affairs,  having  been  chosen 
as  successor  to  Mr.  Livingston,  who  had  resigned.  —  ED. 


326        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

I  shall  be  glad  to  render  any  acceptable  Service  to  Mr. 
Randall.1  I  convey'd  the  Bayberry  Wax  to  Abbe*  de  Chalut, 
with  your  Compliments,  as  you  desired.  He  returns  his  with 
many  Thanks.  Be  pleased  to  make  my  respectfull  Compli- 
ments acceptable  to  Mrs.  Jay,  and  believe  me  ever,  with 
sincere  and  great  Respect  and  Esteem,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1564.    TO   CHARLES  THOMSON         (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  10,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, 

An  old  Gentleman  in  Switzerland,  long  of  the  Magistracy 
there,  having  written  a  book  intitled  Dn  Gouvernement  des 
Mceurs,2  which  is  thought  to  contain  many  Matters,  that  may 
be  useful  in  America,  desired  to  know  of  me  how  he  could 
convey  a  Number  of  the  printed  Copies,  to  be  distributed 
gratis  among  the  Members  of  Congress.  I  advis'd  his  ad- 
dressing the  Package  to  you  by  way  of  Amsterdam,  whence 
a  Friend  of  mine  would  forward  it.  It  is  accordingly  shipt 
there  on  board  the  Van  Berckel,  Capt.  W.  Campbell  mark'd 
[x].  N°  990.  There  are  good  Things  in  the  Work,  but  his 
Chapter  on  the  Liberty  of  the  Press  appears  to  me  to  contain 
more  Rhetorick  than  Reason.  With  great  Esteem,  I  am 
ever,  Dear  Sir, 

Yours  Affectionately 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  Paul  Randall,  son  of  a  merchant  of  New  York.  —  ED. 

2  By  Pollier,  published  at  Lausanne,  1 784.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  MR.  AND  MRS.   RICHARD  BACHE  327 

1565.    TO  MR.  AND  MRS.  RICHARD  BACHE    (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  10,  1785. 

DEAR  SON  AND  DAUGHTER  :  —  Having  at  length  received 
from  Congress  Permission  to  return  home,  I  am  now  pre- 
paring for  my  departure,  and  hope  to  get  away  by  the  Middle 
of  next  Month,  or  the  End  at  farthest,  tho'  I  know  not  yet 
whether  it  will  be  by  the  Packet  or  some  other  Vessel. 
Fearing  that  the  Packet  may  be  crowded  with  Passengers,  I 
have  desired  my  Cousin,  Jonathan  Williams,  now  in  London, 
to  enquire  whether  there  may  not  be  found  some  good  Vessel 
bound  directly  to  Philadelphia,  who  would  agree  to  take  me 
on  board  at  Havre,  with  my  Grandsons  and  Servants,  and 
my  Baggage,  etc.  Infirm  as  I  am,  I  have  need  of  comfort- 
able Room  and  Accommodations.  I  was  miserably  lodg'd 
in  coming  over  hither,  which  almost  demolish'd  me.  I  must 
be  better  stow'd  now,  or  I  shall  not  be  able  to  hold  out  the 
Voyage.  Indeed  my  Friends  here  are  so  apprehensive  for 
me,  that  they  press  me  much  to  remain  in  France,  and  three 
of  them  have  offer'd  me  an  Asylum  in  their  Habitations. 
They  tell  me  I  am  here  among  a  People  who  universally 
esteem  and  love  me;  that  my  Friends  at  home  are  dimin- 
ish'd  by  Death  in  my  Absence ;  that  I  may  there  meet  with 
Envy  and  its  consequent  Enmity  which  here  I  am  perfectly 
free  from;  this  supposing  I  live  to  compleat  the  Voyage, 
but  of  that  they  doubt.  The  Desire  however  of  spending 
the  little  Remainder  of  Life  with  my  Family,  is  so  strong,  as 
to  determine  me  to  try,  at  least,  whether  I  can  bear  the  Motion 
of  a  Ship.  If  not,  I  must  get  them  to  set  me  on  shore  some- 
where in  the  Channel,  and  content  myself  to  die  in  Europe. 


328       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

It  is  long  since  I  have  heard  from  you  or  of  you.  I  hope, 
however,  that  you  and  the  Children  continue  well.  Ben  is 
very  well,  and  growing  amazingly.  He  promises  to  be  a 
stout  as  well  as  a  good  Man.  Temple  has  been  ill  lately 
with  a  Fever,  but  is  getting  better  and  sends  his  Duty.  I 
suppose  Ben  writes.  I  am  ever  my  dear  Children,  your 

affectionate  Father, 

B.  FRANKLIN 

in  his  8oth  Year. 


1566.    TO  MARECHAL  DE  CASTRIES     (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  May  1 6, 1785. 

SIR, 

I  received  the  Letter  you  did  me  the  honour  of  writing  to 
me  the  gth  Instant,  respecting  an  Advance  made  to  Mr.  Bing- 
ham  Agent  of  the  United  States  at  Martinique,  amounting  to 
200,216  #5.  for  which  he  is  held  accountable.  Mr.  Bingham 
resided  at  Paris  during  the  Winter,  with  his  Family;  but  is 
now  gone  to  London,  and  I  know  not  his  Address  there. 
Before  his  Departure  he  obtain'd  some  Letters  of  Introduction 
to  the  Minister  of  France  at  that  Court,  and  probably  there- 
fore is  acquainted  with  residence;  and  I  submit  it  to  your 
Consideration,  whether  it  may  not  be  well  to  charge  that 
Minister  with  the  Demand,  as  I  am  about  to  depart  for 
America,  and  shall  probably  have  no  Opportunity  of  seeing 
Mr.  Bingham,  for  which  reason  I  return  the  Letter.  With 
great  Respect,  I  am,  Sir, 

Your  Excellency's  most  obedient 
&  most  humble  Servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1785]  TO  JONATHAN  WILLIAMS  329 

1567.    TO   JONATHAN  WILLIAMS       (P.  c.) 
DEAR  JONATHAN  Passy  May  19.  1785 

1  The  Conversations  you  mention  respecting  America  are 
pitiable.  Those  People  speak  what  they  wish ;  but  she  was 
certainly  never  in  a  more  happy  Situation.  They  are  angry 
with  us  and  hate  us,  and  speak  all  manner  of  evil  of  us; 
but  we  flourish,  notwithstanding.  They  put  me  in  mind 
of  a  violent  High  Church  Factor,  resident  some  time  in 
Boston,  when  I  was  a  Boy.  He  had  bought  upon  Specula- 
tion a  Connecticut  Cargo  of  Onions,  which  he  flatter'd  him- 
self he  might  sell  again  to  great  Profit,  but  the  Price  fell, 
and  they  lay  upon  hand.  He  was  heartily  vex'd  with  his 
Bargain,  especially  when  he  observ'd  they  began  to  grow  in 
the  Store  he  had  fill'd  with  them.  He  show'd  them  one  Day 
to  a  Friend.  "Here  they  are,"  says  he,  "and  they  are  grow- 
ing too !  I  damn  'em  every  day ;  but  I  think  they  are  like 
the  Presbyterians ;  the  more  I  curse  'em,  the  more  they  grow.1' 

Billy  is  got  well  again  and  I  suppose  writes.  My  Disorder 
has  its  bad  and  good  Days :  At  present  I  am  tolerably  affected 
by  it ;  but  sometimes  the  Pain  is  hard  to  bear.  I  wish  you  to 
buy  and  send  me  Blackrie's  Disquisition  on  Medicines  that 
dissolve  the  Stone.2  You  will  find  it  at  Wilkie's,  N°  71,  Paul's 
Churchyard.  I  am  ever,  your  Affectionate  Uncle 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  The  first  paragraph  of  this  letter  I  have  omitted.  It  contains  remarks 
upon  his  preparations  for  his  homeward  voyage,  the  substance  of  which  is  to  be 
found  in  other  letters.  The  original  is  in  the  possession  of  Louis  A.  Biddle, 
Esq.  —  ED. 

1  "  A  Disquisition  on  Medicines  which  dissolve  the  Stone,  in  which  Dr. 


330       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN"  FRANKLIN    [1785 

1568.    TO   CALEB  WHITEFOORD       (B.  M.) 

Passy  May  19.  1785 
MY  DEAR  OLD  FRIEND 

I  have  desired  my  Nephew  Mr.  Williams  to  buy  a  Book 
for  me,  Blackrie's  Disquisitions  upon  Medicines  for  dis- 
solving the  Stone.  It  treats  I  understand  of  the  Sope-Lye, 
which  is  recommended  in  the  Pamphlet  you  were  so  kind  as 
to  send  me.  But  as  he  may  not  easily  find  an  Opportunity 
of  sending  it  to  me,  I  have  directed  him  to  consult  with  you, 
hoping  that  if  it  is  not  too  big,  you  may  prevail  to  have  it 
come  by  the  Court  Courier,  under  Cover  to  your  Friend  here, 
who  will  immediately  give  it  to  me. 

I  am  really  griev'd  to  learn  by  your  Letter  to  my  Grandson, 
that  your  public  Services  at  the  Treaty  remain  yet  unre- 
warded.1 You  were  long  and  usefully  employ Jd  here,  and 
it  is  a  shame  you  should  be  so  long  neglected.  The  Min- 
istry being  chang'd  does  not  lessen  your  Merit  with  regard 
to  the  Public.  You  had  a  great  loss  in  the  Death  of  that 
truly  good  Man  Mr.  Oswald.2  For  I  know  it  was  his  inten- 
tion, tho'  he  would  not  accept  of  anything  for  himself  on 
Account  of  his  Employment  here,  to  make  it  a  Point  with 
Government,  the  obtaining  a  handsome  Provision  for  you. 
It  is  unlucky,  I  think  in  the  Affairs  of  this  World,  that  the 
Wise  and  Good  should  be  as  mortal  as  Common  People 

Chittick's  secret  is  considered  and  discovered,"  by  Alexander  Blackrie.    Lon- 
don, 1766.    i2mo. —  ED. 

1  It  was  not  until  1793  that  a  pension  of  £200  a  year  was  secured  to 
Whitefoord  for  his  services.  —  ED. 

2  Richard  Oswald  died  November  6,  1784.  — ED. 


1785]  TO  GEORGE  WHATLEY  331 

and  that  they  often  die  before  others  are  found  fit  to  supply 

their  Places. 

I  am  ever,  my  dear  Friend, 

Yours  most  affectionately. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1569.    TO   GEORGE  WHATLEY1 

Passy,  May  19,  1785. 

DEAR  OLD  FRIEND, 

I  received  the  very  good  letter  you  sent  me  by  my  grandson, 
together  with  your  resemblance,  which  is  placed  in  my 
chamber,  and  gives  me  great  pleasure.  There  is  no  trade, 
they  say,  without  returns,  and  therefore  I  am  punctual  in 
making  those  you  have  ordered. 

I  intended  this  should  have  been  a  long  epistle,  but  I  am 
interrupted,  and  can  only  add,  that  I  am  ever  yours  most 

affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1570.    TO   GEORGE  WHATLEY         (L.  c.) 

Passy,  May  23,  1785. 

DEAR  OLD  FRIEND, 

I  sent  you  a  few  Lines  the  other  Day,  with  the  Medallion, 
when  I  should  have  written  more,  but  was  prevented  by  the 
coming  in  of  a  Bavard,  who  worried  me  till  Evening.  I  bore 
with  him,  and  now  you  are  to  bear  with  me ;  for  I  shall  prob- 
ably bavarder  in  answering  your  Letter. 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  183.  — ED. 


332        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

I  am  not  acquainted  with  the  Saying  of  Alphonsus,1  which 
you  allude  to  as  a  Sanctification  of  your  Rigidity,  in  refusing 
to  allow  me  the  Plea  of  Old  Age,  as  an  Excuse  for  my  Want 
of  Exactness  in  Correspondence.  What  was  that  Saying? 
You  do  not,  it  seems,  feel  any  occasion  for  such  an  Excuse, 
though  you  are,  as  you  say,  rising  75.  But  I  am  rising  (per- 
haps more  properly  falling)  80,  and  I  leave  the  Excuse  with 
you  till  you  arrive  at  that  Age;  perhaps  you  may  then  be 
more  sensible  of  its  Validity,  and  see  fit  to  use  it  for  yourself. 

I  must  agree  with  you,  that  the  Gout  is  bad,  and  that  the 
Stone  is  worse.  I  am  happy  in  not  having  them  both  to- 
gether, and  I  join  in  your  Prayer,  that  you  may  live  till  you 
die  without  either.  But  I  doubt  the  Author  of  the  Epitaph 2 
you  send  me  was  a  little  mistaken,  when  he,  speaking  of  the 
World,  says,  that 

"  he  ne'er  car'd  a  pin 
What  they  said  or  may  say  of  the  Mortal  within." 

It  is  so  natural  to  wish  to  be  well  spoken  of,  whether  alive 
or  dead,  that  I  imagine  he  could  not  be  quite  exempt  from 
that  Desire ;  and  that  at  least  he  wish'd  to  be  thought  a  Wit, 
or  he  would  not  have  given  himself  the  Trouble  of  writing  so 
good  an  Epitaph  to  leave  behind  him.  Was  it  not  as  worthy 
of  his  Care,  that  the  World  should  say  he  was  an  honest  and 
a  good  Man?  I  like  better  the  concluding  Sentiment  in 
the  old  Song,  call'd  The  Old  Man's  Wish,  wherein,  after 
wishing  for  a  warm  House  in  a  country  Town,  an  easy  Horse, 
some  good  old  authors,  ingenious  and  cheerful  Companions, 
a  Pudding  on  Sundays,  with  stout  Ale,  and  a  bottle  of  Bur- 

1  The  wish  of  King  Alphonsus  was  to  have  old  friends,  old  books,  old 
wine,  and  old  wood,  whence  Whatley  gathered  that  the  age  of  friends  ought 
not  to  be  a  plea  for  indolence  or  inexactness.  —  ED. 

2  Pope's  Epitaph,  Ep.  XVI,  6.—  ED. 


1785]  TO   GEORGE   WHATLEY  333 

gundy,  &c.  &c.,  in  separate  Stanzas,  each  ending  with  this 
burthen, 

44  May  I  govern  my  Passions  with  an  absolute  sway, 
Grow  wiser  and  better  as  my  Strength  wears  away, 
Without  Gout  or  Stone,  by  a  gentle  Decay;  " 

he  adds, 

"  With  a  Courage  undaunted  may  I  face  my  last  day, 
And,  when  I  am  gone,  may  the  better  Sort  say, 
'  In  the  Morning  when  sober,  in  the  Evening  when  mellow, 
He's  gone,  and  has  not  left  behind  him  his  Fellow; 
For  he  governed  his  Passions,  &c.' " 

But  what  signifies  our  Wishing?  Things  happen,  after  all, 
as  they  will  happen.  I  have  sung  that  wishing  Song  a  thou- 
sand times,  when  I  was  young,  and  now  find,  at  Fourscore, 
that  the  three  Contraries  have  befallen  me,  being  subject  to 
the  Gout  and  the  Stone,  and  not  being  yet  Master  of  all  my 
Passions.  Like  the  proud  Girl  in  my  Country,  who  wished 
and  resolv'd  not  to  marry  a  Parson,  nor  a  Presbyterian,  nor 
an  Irishman;  and  at  length  found  herself  married  to  an 
Irish  Presbyterian  Parson. 

You  see  I  have  some  reason  to  wish,  that,  in  a  future  State, 
I  may  not  only  be  as  well  as  I  was,  but  a  little  better.  And 
I  hope  it;  for  I,  too,  with  your  Poet,  trust  in  God.  And 
when  I  observe,  that  there  is  great  Frugality,  as  well  as  Wis- 
dom, in  his  Works,  since  he  has  been  evidently  sparing  both 
of  Labour  and  Materials ;  for  by  the  various  wonderful  Inven- 
tions of  Propagation,  he  has  provided  for  the  continual  peo- 
pling his  World  with  Plants  and  Animals,  without  being  at 
the  Trouble  of  repeated  new  Creations;  and  by  the  natural 
Reduction  of  compound  Substances  to  their  original  Ele- 
ments, capable  of  being  employ'd  in  new  Compositions,  he 
has  prevented  the  Necessity  of  creating  new  Matter ;  so  that 
the  Earth,  Water,  Air,  and  perhaps  Fire,  which  being  com- 


334       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

pounded  form  Wood,  do,  when  the  Wood  is  dissolved,  re- 
turn, and  again  become  Air,  Earth,  Fire,  and  Water;  I  say, 
that,  when  I  see  nothing  annihilated,  and  not  even  a  Drop 
of  Water  wasted,  I  cannot  suspect  the  Annihilation  of  Souls, 
or  believe,  that  he  will  suffer  the  daily  Waste  of  Millions  of 
Minds  ready  made  that  now  exist,  and  put  himself  to  the 
continual  Trouble  of  making  new  ones.  Thus  finding  my- 
self to  exist  in  the  World,  I  believe  I  shall,  in  some  Shape  or 
other,  always  exist ;  and,  with  all  the  inconveniencies  human 
Life  is  liable  to,  I  shall  not  object  to  a  new  Edition  of  mine ; 
hoping,  however,  that  the  Errata  of  the  last  may  be  corrected. 
I  return  your  Note  of  Children  received  in  the  Foundling 
Hospital  at  Paris,  from  1741  to  1755,  inclusive;  and  I  have 
added  the  Years  preceding  as  far  back  as  1710  together  with 
the  general  Christnings  of  the  City,  and  the  Years  succeeding 
down  to  1770.  Those  since  that  Period  I  have  not  been  able 
to  obtain.  I  have  noted  in  the  Margin  the  gradual  Increase, 
viz.  from  every  tenth  Child  so  thrown  upon  the  Public,  till 
it  comes  to  every  third  !  Fifteen  Years  have  passed  since  the 
last  Account,  and  probably  it  may  now  amount  to  one  half. 
Is  it  right  to  encourage  this  monstrous  Deficiency  of  natural 
Affection?  A  Surgeon  I  met  with  here  excused  the  Women 
of  Paris,  by  saying,  seriously,  that  they  could  not  give  suck; 
"Car,"  dit  il,  u elles  riant  point  de  tetons."  He  assur'd  me 
it  was  a  Fact,  and  bade  me  look  at  them,  and  observe  how 
flat  they  were  on  the  Breast ;  "  they  have  nothing  more  there," 
said  he,  "than  I  have  upon  the  Back  of  my  hand."  I  have 
since  thought  that  there  might  be  some  Truth  in  his  Obser- 
vation, and  that,  possibly,  Nature,  finding  they  made  no  use 
of  Bubbies,  has  left  off  giving  them  any.  Yet,  since  Rous- 
seau, with  admirable  Eloquence,  pleaded  for  the  Rights  of 


1785]  TO  GEORGE  WHATLEY  335 

Children  to  their  Mother's  Milk,  the  Mode  has  changed  a 
little ;  and  some  Ladies  of  Quality  now  suckle  their  Infants 
and  find  Milk  enough.  May  the  Mode  descend  to  the  lower 
Ranks,  till  it  becomes  no  longer  the  Custom  to  pack  their 
Infants  away,  as  soon  as  born,  to  the  Enfant  Trouvts,  with 
the  careless  Observation,  that  the  King  is  better  able  to  main- 
tain them. 

I  am  credibly  inform'd,  that  nine-tenths  of  them  die  there 
pretty  soon,  which  is  said  to  be  a  great  Relief  to  the  Institu- 
tion, whose  Funds  would  not  otherwise  be  sufficient  to  bring 
up  the  Remainder.  Except  the  few  Persons  of  Quality 
above  mentioned,  and  the  Multitude  who  send  to  the  Hos- 
pital, the  Practice  is  to  hire  Nurses  in  the  Country  to  carry 
out  the  Children,  and  take  care  of  them  there.  There  is  an 
Office  for  examining  the  Health  of  Nurses,  and  giving  them 
Licenses.  They  come  to  Town  on  certain  Days  of  the  Week 
in  Companies  to  receive  the  Children,  and  we  often  meet 
Trains  of  them  on  the  Road  returning  to  the  neighbouring 
Villages,  with  each  a  Child  in  her  Arms.  But  those,  who  are 
good  enough  to  try  this  way  of  raising  their  Children,  are  often 
not  able  to  pay  the  Expence;  so  that  the  Prisons  of  Paris 
are  crowded  with  wretched  Fathers  and  Mothers  confined 
pour  Mois  de  Nourrice,  tho'  it  is  laudably  a  favorite  Charity 
to  pay  for  them,  and  set  such  Prisoners  at  Liberty.  I  wish 
Success  to  the  new  Project  of  assisting  the  Poor  to  keep  their 
Children  at  home,  because  I  think  there  is  no  Nurse  like  a 
Mother  (or  not  many),  and  that,  if  Parents  did  not  immedi- 
ately send  their  Infants  out  of  their  Sight,  they  would  in  a 
few  days  begin  to  love  them,  and  thence  be  spurr'd  to  greater 
Industry  for  their  Maintenance.  This  is  a  Subject  you  under- 
stand better  than  I,  and,  therefore,  having  perhaps  said  too 


336       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

much,  I  drop  it.  I  only  add  to  the  Notes  a  Remark,  from 
the  History  of  the  Academy  0}  Sciences,  much  in  favour  of 
the  Foundling  Institution. 

The  Philadelphia  Bank  goes  on,  as  I  hear,  very  well.  What 
you  call  the  Cincinnati  Institution  is  no  Institution  of  our 
Government,  but  a  private  Convention  among  the  Officers 
of  our  late  Army,  and  so  universally  dislik'd  by  the  People, 
that  it  is  supposed  it  will  be  dropt.  It  was  considered  as  an 
Attempt  to  establish  something  like  an  hereditary  Rank  or 
Nobility.  I  hold  with  you,  that  it  was  wrong;  may  I  add, 
that  all  descending  Honours  are  wrong  and  absurd;  that 
the  Honour  of  virtuous  Actions  appertains  only  to  him  that 
performs  them,  and  is  in  its  nature  incommunicable.  If 
it  were  communicable  by  Descent,  it  must  also  be  divisible 
among  the  Descendants ;  and  the  more  ancient  the  Family, 
the  less  would  be  found  existing  in  any  one  Branch  of  it ;  to 
say  nothing  of  the  greater  Chance  of  unlucky  Interruptions.1 

Our  Constitution  seems  not  to  be  well  understood  with 
you.  If  the  Congress  were  a  permanent  Body,  there  would  be 
more  Reason  in  being  jealous  of  giving  it  Powers.  But  its 
Members  are  chosen  annually,  cannot  be  chosen  more  than 
three  Years  successively,  nor  more  than  three  Years  in  seven ; 
and  any  of  them  may  be  recall'd  at  any  time,  whenever  their 
Constituents  shall  be  dissatisfied  with  their  Conduct.2  They 
are  of  the  People,  and  return  again  to  mix  with  the  People, 
having  no  more  durable  preeminence  than  the  different 
Grains  of  Sand  in  an  Hourglass.  Such  an  Assembly  cannot 
easily  become  dangerous  to  Liberty.  They  are  the  Servants 
of  the  People,  sent  together  to  do  the  People's  Business,  and 

1  See  letter  to  Mrs.  Bache,  dated  January  26,  1784.  —  ED. 

2  These  were  the  provisions  of  the  old  confederation.  —  S. 


1785]  TO  GEORGE  WHATLEY  337 

promote  the  public  Welfare ;  their  Powers  must  be  sufficient, 
or  their  Duties  cannot  be  performed.  They  have  no  prof- 
itable Appointments,  but  a  mere  Payment  of  daily  Wages, 
such  as  are  scarcely  equivalent  to  their  Expences;  so  that, 
having  no  Chance  for  great  Places,  and  enormous  Salaries 
or  Pensions,  as  in  some  Countries,  there  is  no  triguing  or 
bribing  for  Elections. 

I  wish  Old  England  were  as  happy  in  its  Government, 
but  I  do  not  see  it.  Your  People,  however,  think  their  Con- 
stitution the  best  in  the  World,  and  affect  to  despise  ours.  It 
is  comfortable  to  have  a  good  Opinion  of  one's  self,  and  of 
every  thing  that  belongs  to  us ;  to  think  one's  own  Religion, 
King,  and  Wife,  the  best  of  all  possible  Wives,  Kings,  or 
Religions.  I  remember  three  Greenlanders,  who  had  trav- 
ell'd  two  Years  in  Europe  under  the  care  of  some  Moravian 
Missionaries,  and  had  visited  Germany,  Denmark,  Holland, 
and  England.  When  I  asked  them  at  Philadelphia,  where 
they  were  in  their  Way  home,  whether,  now  they  had  seen 
how  much  more  commodiously  the  white  People  lived  by 
the  help  of  the  Arts,  they  would  not  choose  to  remain  among 
us;  their  Answer  was,  that  they  were  pleased  with  having 
had  an  Opportunity  of  seeing  so  many  fine  things,  but  they 
chose  to  LIVE  in  their  own  Country.  Which  Country,  by  the 
way,  consisted  of  rock  only,  for  the  Moravians  were  obliged 
to  carry  Earth  in  their  Ship  from  New  York,  for  the  purpose 
of  making  there  a  Cabbage  Garden. 

By  Mr.  Dollond's  *  Saying,  that  my  double  Spectacles  can 
only  serve  particular  Eyes,  I  doubt  he  has  not  been  rightly 
informed  of  their  Construction.  I  imagine  it  will  be  found 
pretty  generally  true,  that  the  same  Convexity  of  Glass, 

1  Peter  Dollond  (1730-1820),  optician.  —  ED. 
VOL.  ix  —  z 


338       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

through  which  a  Man  sees  clearest  and  best  at  the  Distance 
proper  for  Reading,  is  not  the  best  for  greater  Distances.  I 
therefore  had  formerly  two  Pair  of  Spectacles,  which  I  shifted 
occasionally,  as  in  travelling  I  sometimes  read,  and  often 
wanted  to  regard  the  Prospects.  Finding  this  Change  trouble- 
some, and  not  always  sufficiently  ready,  I  had  the  Glasses 
cut,  and  half  of  each  kind  associated  in  the  same  Circle, 
thus, 


Least  convex 
for  distant  objects 


By  this  means,  as  I  wear  my  Spectacles  constantly,  I  have 
only  to  move  my  Eyes  up  or  down,  as  I  want  to  see  distinctly 
far  or  near,  the  proper  Glasses  being  always  ready.  This  I 
find  more  particularly  convenient  since  my  being  in  France, 
the  Glasses  that  serve  me  best  at  Table  to  see  what  I  eat, 
not  being  the  best  to  see  the  Faces  of  those  on  the  other  Side 
of  the  Table  who  speak  to  me ;  and  when  one's  Ears  are  not 
well  accustomed  to  the  Sounds  of  a  Language,  a  Sight  of  the 
Movements  in  the  Features  of  him  that  speaks  helps  to  ex- 
plain ;  so  that  I  understand  French  better  by  the  help  of  my 
Spectacles. 

My  intended  translator  of  your  Piece,  the  only  one  I  know 
who  understands  the  Subject,  as  well  as  the  two  Languages, 
(which  a  translator  ought  to  do,  or  he  cannot  make  so  good 


1785]  TO   CHRISTOPHER    WYVILL  339 

a  Translation,)  is  at  present  occupied  in  an  Affair  that  pre- 
vents his  undertaking  it;  but  that  will  soon  be  over.  I 
thank  you  for  the  Notes.  I  should  be  glad  to  have  another 
of  the  printed  Pamphlets. 

We  shall  always  be  ready  to  take  your  Children,  if  you 
send  them  to  us.  I  only  wonder,  that,  since  London  draws 
to  itself,  and  consumes  such  Numbers  of  your  Country  People, 
the  Country  should  not,  to  supply  their  Places,  want  and 
willingly  receive  the  Children  you  have  to  dispose  of.  That 
Circumstance,  together  with  the  Multitude  who  voluntarily 
part  with  their  Freedom  as  Men,  to  serve  for  a  time  as 
Lac[k]eys,  or  for  Life  as  Soldiers,  in  consideration  of  small 
Wages,  seems  to  me  a  Proof  that  your  Island  is  over-peopled. 
And  yet  it  is  afraid  of  Emigrations !  Adieu,  my  dear 
Friend,  and  believe  me  ever  yours  very  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1571.    TO   CHRISTOPHER  WYVILL1    (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  June  16,  1785 
SIR 

I  send  you  herewith  the  Sketch  I  promis'd  you.  Perhaps  it 
may  be  of  use  to  publish  something  of  the  kind :  For  if  the 
power  of  Chusing  now  in  the  Boroughs  continues  to  be  al- 
low'd  as  a  Right,  they  may  think  themselves  more  justifiable 

1  Christopher  Wyvill  (1740-1822),  prominent  in  country  politics,  was  an 
earnest  advocate  of  parliamentary  reform.  He  was  chairman  of  the  York- 
shire Association,  which  aimed  among  other  things  to  equalize  the  representa- 
tion in  Parliament.  Its  political  sentiments  were  announced  in  a  circular 
letter  drawn  up  by  Wyvill,  and  in  the  Yorkshire  petition  presented  to  Parlia- 
ment, February  8,  1780.  —  ED. 


340       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN"  FRANKLIN    [1785 

in  demanding  more  for  it,  or  in  holding  back  longer,  than 
they  would  if  they  find  that  it  begins  to  be  consider'd  as  an 
Abuse.  With  great  Esteem,  I  am, 

Sir, 

Your  most  obedient 
&  most  humble  Servant 
B.  FRANKLIN. 


1572.    ON  THE  ELECTIVE  FRANCHISES  ENJOYED 
BY  THE  SMALL  BOROUGHS  IN  ENGLAND  l 

No  man,  or  body  of  men,  in  any  nation,  can  have  a  just 
right  to  any  privilege  or  franchise  not  common  to  the  rest 
of  the  nation,  without  having  done  the  nation  some  service 
equivalent,  for  which  the  franchise  or  privilege  was  the  recom- 
pense or  consideration. 

No  man,  or  body  of  men,  can  be  justly  deprived  of  a  com- 
mon right,  but  for  some  equivalent  offence  or  injury  done  to 
the  society  in  which  he  enjoyed  that  right. 

If  a  number  of  men  are  unjustly  deprived  of  a  common 
right,  and  the  same  is  given  in  addition  to  the  common  rights 
of  another  number,  who  have  not  merited  such  addition,  the 
injustice  is  double. 

Few,  if  any,  of  the  boroughs  in  England,  ever  performed 
any  such  particular  service  to  the  nation,  entitling  them  to 
what  they  now  claim  as  a  privilege  in  elections. 

Originally,  in  England,  when  the  King  issued   his  writs 

1  Addressed  to  Christopher  Wyvill,  not  Sir  Charles  Wyvill  as  in  Sparks 
and  Bigelow;  the  baronetcy  became  dormant  in  1774.  See  Thomas  Sec- 
combe's  article  upon  Christopher  Wyvill  in  "  Diet,  of  Nat.  Biog."  —  ED. 


1785]          ELECTIVE  FRANCHISES  IN  ENGLAND  341 

calling  upon  counties,  cities,  and  boroughs,  to  depute  persons 
who  should  meet  him  in  Parliament,  the  intention  was  to 
obtain  by  that  means  more  perfect  information  of  the  general 
state  of  the  kingdom,  its  faculties,  strength,  and  disposition ; 
together  with  the  advice  their  accumulated  wisdom  might 
afford  him  in  "such  arduous  affairs  of  the  realm"  as  he  had 
to  propose.  And  he  might  reasonably  hope,  that  measures 
approved  by  the  deputies  in  such  an  assembly  would,  on  their 
return  home,  be  by  them  well  explained,  and  rendered  agree- 
able to  their  constituents  and  the  nation  in  general.  At  that 
time,  being  sent  to  Parliament  was  not  considered  as  being 
put  into  the  way  of  preferment,  or  increase  of  fortune ;  there- 
fore no  bribe  was  given  to  obtain  the  appointment.  The  dep- 
uties were  to  be  paid  wages  by  their  constituents;  there- 
fore the  being  obliged  to  send  and  pay  was  considered  rather 
as  a  duty  than  a  privilege.  At  this  day,  in  New  England, 
many  towns,  who  may  and  ought  to  send  members  to  the 
Assembly,  sometimes  neglect  to  do  it;  they  are  then  sum- 
moned to  answer  for  their  neglect,  and  fined  if  they  cannot 
give  a  good  excuse;  such  as  some  common  misfortune,  or 
some  extraordinary  public  expense,  which  disabled  them 
from  affording,  conveniently,  the  necessary  wages.  And, 
the  wages  allowed  being  barely  sufficient  to  defray  the  dep- 
uty's expense,  no  solicitations  are  used  to  be  chosen. 

In  England,  as  soon  as  the  being  sent  to  Parliament  was 
found  to  be  a  step  towards  acquiring  both  honour  and  fortune, 
solicitations  were  practised,  and,  where  they  were  insufficient, 
money  was  given.  Both  the  ambitious  and  avaricious  be- 
came candidates.  But  to  solicit  the  poor  labourer  for  his  vote 
being  humiliating  to  the  proud  man,  and  to  pay  for  it  hurting 
the  lover  of  money,  they,  when  they  met,  joined  in  an  act  to 


342       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

diminish  both  these  inconveniences,  by  depriving  the  poor 
of  the  right  of  voting,  which  certainly  they  were  not  empow- 
ered to  do  by  the  electors  their  constituents,  the  majority  of 
whom  were  probably  people  of  little  property.  The  act  was, 
therefore,  not  only  unjust,  but  void.  These  lower  people 
were,  immediately  afterwards,  oppressed  by  another  act, 
empowering  the  justices  to  fix  the  hire  of  day-labourers  and 
their  hours  of  work,  and  to  send  them  to  the  house  of  correc- 
tion if  they  refused  to  work  for  such  hire;  which  was  de- 
posing them  from  their  condition  of  freemen,  and  making 
them  literally  slaves. 

But  this  was  taking  from  many  freemen  a  common  right, 
and  confirming  it  to  a  jew.  To  give  it  back  again  to  the  many 
is  a  different  operation.  Of  this  the  few  have  no  just  cause 
to  complain,  because  they  still  retain  the  common  right  they 
always  had,  and  they  lose  only  the  exclusive  additional  power 
which  they  ought  never  to  have  had.  And  if  they  used  it, 
when  they  had  it,  as  a  means  of  obtaining  money,  they  should 
in  justice,  were  it  practicable,  be  obliged  to  refund  and  dis- 
tribute such  money  among  those  who  had  been  so  unjustly 
deprived  of  their  right  of  voting,  or  forfeit  it  to  the  public. 

Corporations,  therefore,  or  boroughs,  who,  from  being 
originally  called  to  send  deputies  to  Parliament,  when  it  was 
considered  merely  as  a  duty,  and  not  as  a  particular  privilege, 
and  therefore  was  never  purchased  by  any  equivalent  service 
to  the  public,  continue  to  send,  now  that  by  a  change  of  times 
it  affords  them  profit  in  bribes,  or  emoluments  of  various 
kinds,  have  in  reality  no  right  to  such  advantages ;  which  are 
besides  in  effect  prejudicial  to  the  nation,  some  of  those  who 
buy  thinking  they  may  also  sell. 

They  should  therefore,  in  justice,  be  immediately  deprived 


1785]  TO   THOMAS  BARCLAY  343 

of  such  pretended  right,  and  reduced  to  the  condition  of  com- 
mon freemen. 

But  they  are  perhaps  too  strong,  and  their  interest  too 
weighty,  to  permit  such  justice  to  be  done.  And  a  regard 
for  public  good  in  these  people,  influencing  a  voluntary  resig- 
nation, is  not  to  be  expected. 

If  that  be  the  case,  it  may  be  necessary  to  submit  to  the 
power  of  present  circumstances,  passions,  and  prejudices, 
and  purchase,  since  we  can  do  no  better,  their  consent;  as 
men,  when  they  cannot  otherwise  recover  property  unjustly 
detained  from  them,  advertise  a  reward  to  whoever  will  re- 
store it,  promising  that  no  questions  shall  be  asked. 


1573.    TO  THOMAS  BARCLAY          (L.  c.) 

Passy,  June  19,  1785. 

SIR, 

With  respect  to  my  continuing  to  charge  £2500  Sterling 
per  Annum  as  my  Salary,  of  which  you  desire  some  Explana- 
tion, I  send  you,  in  support  of  that  Charge,  the  Resolution 
of  Congress,  which  is  in  these  words. 

"In  Congress,  October  5th,  1779.  Resolved,  that  each  of 
the  Ministers  Plenipotentiary  be  allowed  at  the  rate  of 
£2500  Sterling  per  Annum,  and  each  of  their  Secretaries  at 
the  rate  of  £1000  Sterling  per  Annum,  in  full  for  their  Ser- 
vices and  Expences  respectively.  That  the  Salary  of  each 
of  the  said  Officers  be  computed  from  the  time  of  his  leaving 
his  Place  of  Abode,  to  enter  on  the  Duties  of  his  Office,  and 
be  continued  three  Months  after  the  Notice  of  his  Recall." 


344       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

The  several  Bills  I  afterwards  received,  drawn  on  the 
Congress  Banker,  Mr.  Grand,  for  my  Salary,  were  all  cal- 
culated on  that  salary;  and  neither  the  Banker  nor  myself 
has  receiv'd  Notice  of  any  Change  respecting  me.  He  has 
accordingly,  since  the  Drawing  ceas'd,  continu'd  to  pay  me 
at  the  same  Rate.  I  have  indeed  heard  that  a  Resolution 
was  pass'd  last  year,  that  the  Salaries  of  Plenipotentiaries 
should  be  no  more  than  £2,000  Sterling  per  ann.  But  that 
Resolution,  I  suppose,  can  relate  only  to  such  Plenipoten- 
tiaries as  should  be  afterwards  appointed ;  for  I  cannot  con- 
ceive, that  the  Congress,  after  promising  a  Minister  £2500  a 
year,  and  when  he  has  thereby  been  encourag'd  to  engage 
in  a  Way  of  Living  for  their  Honour,  which  only  that  Salary 
can  support,  would  think  it  just  to  diminish  it  a  Fifth,  and 
leave  him  under  the  Difficulty  of  reducing  his  Expences  pro- 
portionably;  a  thing  scarce  practicable;  the  Necessity  of 
which  he  might  have  avoided,  if  he  had  not  confided  in  their 
original  Promise. 

But  the  Article  of  Salary  with  all  the  Rest  of  my  Account 
will  be  submitted  to  the  Judgment  of  Congress,  together  with 
some  other  considerable  Articles  I  have  not  charged,  but  on 
which  I  shall  expect,  from  their  Equity,  some  Consideration. 
If,  for  want  of  knowing  precisely  the  Intention  of  Congress, 
what  Expences  should  be  deem'd  Public,  and  what  not 
public,  I  have  charg'd  any  Article  to  the  Public,  which  should 
be  defrayed  by  me,  their  banker  has  my  Order,  as  soon  as 
the  Pleasure  of  Congress  shall  be  made  known  to  him,  to 
rectify  the  Error,  by  transferring  the  Amount  to  my  private 
Account,  and  discharging  by  so  much  that  of  the  publick. 
I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1785]  TO  —  345 

1574.    TO  -  (L.C.) 

Passy,  June  20,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  have  just  received  the  only  letter  from  you  that  has  given 
me  pain.  It  informs  me  of  your  intention  to  attempt  passing 
to  England  in  the  car  of  a  balloon.  In  the  present  imper- 
fect state  of  that  invention,  I  think  it  much  too  soon  to  hazard 
a  voyage  of  that  distance.  It  is  said  here  by  some  of  those, 
who  have  had  experience,  that  as  yet  they  have  not  found 
means  to  keep  up  a  balloon  more  than  two  hours ;  for  that, 
by  now  and  then  losing  air  to  prevent  rising  too  high  and 
bursting,  and  now  and  then  discharging  ballast  to  avoid 
descending  too  low ;  these  means  of  regulation  are  exhausted. 
Besides  this,  all  the  circumstances  of  danger  by  disappoint- 
ment, in  the  operation  of  soupapes,  &c.  &c.,  seem  not  to  be 
yet  well  known,  and  therefore  not  easily  provided  against. 
For  on  Wednesday  last  M.  Pilatre  de  Rosier,1  who  had 
studied  the  subject  as  much  as  any  man,  lost  his  support  in 
the  air,  by  the  bursting  of  his  balloon,  or  by  some  other  means 
we  are  yet  unacquainted  with,  and  fell  with  his  companion2 
from  the  height  of  one  thousand  toises,  on  the  rocky  coast, 
and  were  both  found  dashed  to  pieces. 

1  Jean-Francois  Pilatre  De  Rozier  (1756-1785)  was  Professor  of  Chemistry 
at  the  Athenee  royal,  of  which  he  was  the  founder  in  1781.      With  the  Marquis 
d'Arlandes  he  made  the  first  balloon  ascension  (November  21,  1783).     He 
was  killed,  June  15,  1785,  in  the  fall  of  his  balloon,  near  Boulogne  sur  Mer. 

An  epitaph  was  dedicated  to  him :  — 
"  Ci  git  un  jeune  temeraire, 
Qui,  dans  son  ge"nereux  transport, 
De  POlympe  etonne  franchissant  la  barriere 
Y  trouva  le  premier  et  la  gloire  et  la  mort."  —  ED. 

2  A  physicist  named  Romain.  —  ED. 


346       THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

You,  having  lived  a  good  life,  do  not  fear  death.  But  par- 
don the  anxious  freedom  of  a  friend,  if  he  tells  you,  that,  the 
continuance  of  your  life  being  of  importance  to  your  family 
and  your  country,  though  you  might  laudably  hazard  it  for 
their  good,  you  have  no  right  to  risk  it  for  a  fancy.  I  pray 
God  this  may  reach  you  in  time,  and  have  some  effect  towards 
changing  your  design;  being  ever,  my  dear  friend,  yours 
affectionately,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1575.    TO    JEAN- JACQUES   CAFFIERI     (L.  c.) 

Passy  le  20  Juin  1785 
SIR 

I  received  the  two  obliging  Letters  you  have  lately  written 
to  me.  Please  to  deliver  one  of  the  Busts  to  M.  le  Roy  of 
the  Academy  of  Sciences,  and  keep  the  other  till  call'd  for 
by  M.  Carmichael,  Charge*  des  Affaires  des  Etats  Unis  at 
Madrid.  Send  me  a  Bill  of  the  Expence  with  a  Receipt,  and 
it  shall  be  immediately  paid. 

Your  Complaints  of  Injustice,  of  being  supplanted,  &c. 
seem  to  have  been  founded  on  a  Mistake.  You  have  not 
considered  the  13  States  of  America  as  so  many  distinct 
Governments,  each  of  which  has  a  Right  to  employ  what 
Artist  it  thinks  proper,  and  is  under  no  kind  of  Obligation  to 
employ  one  who  has  been  employed  before,  either  by  the 
Congress  or  by  particular  States.  The  State  of  Virginia, 
therefore,  in  chusing  another,  tho'  perhaps  they  may  not 
have  made  a  better  Choice,  have  certainly  done  you  no  In- 
justice. 

With  great  Esteem  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1785]  TO  FRANCIS  MASERES  347 

1576.    TO   FRANCIS  MASERES1 

Passy,  June  26,  1785. 

SIR, 

I  have  just  received  your  friendly  letter  of  the  2oth  instant. 
I  agree  with  you  perfectly  in  the  opinion,  that,  though  the 
contest  has  been  hurtful  to  both  our  countries,  yet  the  event, 
a  separation,  is  better  even  for  yours  than  success.  The 
reducing  and  keeping  us  in  subjection  by  an  armed  force 
would  have  cost  you  more  than  the  dominion  could  be  worth, 
and  our  slavery  would  have  brought  on  yours.  The  ancient 
system  of  the  British  empire  was  a  happy  one,  by  which  the 
colonies  were  allowed  to  govern  and  tax  themselves.  Had  it 
been  wisely  continued,  it  is  hard  to  imagine  the  degree  of 
power  and  importance  in  the  world  that  empire  might  have 
arrived  at.  All  the  means  of  growing  greatness,  extent  of 
territory,  agriculture,  commerce,  arts,  population,  were 
within  its  own  limits,  and  therefore  at  its  command. 

I  used  to  consider  that  system  as  a  large  and  beautiful 
porcelain  vase;  I  lamented  the  measures  that  I  saw  likely 
to  break  it,  and  strove  to  prevent  them ;  because,  once  broken, 
I  saw  no  probability  of  its  being  ever  repaired.  My  en- 
deavours did  not  succeed;  we  are  broken,  and  the  parts 
must  now  do  as  well  as  they  can  for  themselves.  We  may 
still  do  well,  though  separated.  I  have  great  hopes  of  our 
side,  and  good  wishes  for  yours.  The  anarchy  and  confu- 
sion you  mention,  as  supposed  to  prevail  among  us,  exist 
only  in  your  newspapers.  I  have  authentic  accounts,  which 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  461.  — ED. 


348      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

assure  me,  that  no  people  were  ever  better  governed,  or  more 
content  with  their  respective  constitutions  and  governments, 
than  the  present  Thirteen  States  of  America. 

A  little  reflection  may  convince  any  reasonable  man,  that 
a  government  wherein  the  administrators  are  chosen  annually 
by  the  free  voice  of  the  governed,  and  may  also  be  recalled 
at  any  time  if  their  conduct  displeases  their  constituents, 
cannot  be  a  tyrannical  one,  as  your  Loyalists  represent  it; 
who  at  the  same  time  inconsistently  desire  to  return  and  live 
under  it.  And,  among  an  intelligent,  enlightened  people, 
as  ours  is,  there  must  always  be  too  numerous  and  too  strong 
a  party  for  supporting  good  government  and  the  laws,  to 
suffer  what  is  called  anarchy.  This  better  account  of  our 
situation  must  be  pleasing  to  your  humanity,  and  therefore 
I  give  it  you. 

But  we  differ  a  little  in  our  sentiments  respecting  the  Loyal- 
ists (as  they  call  themselves),  and  the  conduct  of  America 
towards  them,  which,  you  think,  "seems  actuated  by  a  spirit 
of  revenge ;  and  that  it  would  have  been  more  agreeable  to 
policy,  as  well  as  justice,  to  have  restored  their  estates  upon 
their  taking  the  oaths  of  allegiance  to  the  new  governments." 
That  there  should  still  be  some  resentment  against  them  in 
the  breasts  of  those,  who  have  had  their  houses,  farms,  and 
towns  so  lately  destroyed,  and  relations  scalped  under  the  con- 
duct of  these  royalists,  is  not  wonderful ;  though  I  believe  the 
opposition  given  by  many  to  their  reestablishing  among  us 
is  owing  to  a  firm  persuasion,  that  there  could  be  no  reliance 
on  their  oaths ;  and  that  the  effect  of  receiving  those  people 
again  would  be  an  introduction  of  that  very  anarchy  and 
confusion  they  falsely  reproach  us  with.  Even  the  example 
you  propose,  of  the  English  Commonwealth's  restoring  the 


1785]  TO  FRANCIS  MASERES  349 

estates  of  the  royalists  after  their  being  subdued,  seems  rather 
to  countenance  and  encourage  our  acting  differently,  as  prob- 
ably if  the  power,  which  always  accompanies  property,  had 
not  been  restored  to  the  royalists,  if  their  estates  had  remained 
confiscated,  and  their  persons  had  been  banished,  they  could 
not  have  so  much  contributed  to  the  restoration  of  kingly 
power,  and  the  new  government  of  the  republic  might  have 
been  more  durable. 

The  majority  of  examples  in  your  history  are  on  the  other 
side  of  the  question.  All  the  estates  in  England  and  south 
of  Scotland,  and  most  of  those  possessed  by  the  descendants 
of  the  English  in  Ireland,  are  held  from  ancient  confiscations 
made  of  the  estates  of  Caledonians  and  Britons,  the  original 
possessors  in  your  island,  or  the  native  Irish,  in  the  last  cen- 
tury only.  It  is  but  a  few  months  since,  that  your  Parliament 
has,  in  a  few  instances,  given  up  confiscations  incurred  by  a 
rebellion  suppressed  forty  years  ago.  The  war  against  us  was 
begun  by  a  general  act  of  Parliament,  declaring  all  our  estates 
confiscated;  and  probably  one  great  motive  to  the  loyalty 
of  the  royalists  was  the  hope  of  sharing  in  these  confiscations. 
They  have  played  a  deep  game,  staking  their  estates  against 
ours;  and  they  have  been  unsuccessful.  But  it  is  a  surer 
game,  since  they  had  promises  to  rely  on  from  your  govern- 
ment, of  indemnification  in  case  of  loss ;  and  I  see  your  Par- 
liament is  about  to  fulfil  those  promises.  To  this  I  have  no 
objection,  because,  though  still  our  enemies,  they  are  men; 
they  are  in  necessity;  and  I  think  even  a  hired  assassin  has 
a  right  to  his  pay  from  his  employer.  It  seems  too  more 
reasonable,  that  the  expense  of  paying  these  should  fall  upon 
the  government  who  encouraged  the  mischief  done,  rather 
than  upon  us  who  suffered  it ;  the  confiscated  estates  making 


350       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

amends  but  for  a  very  small  part  of  that  mischief.  It  is  not, 
therefore,  clear,  that  our  retaining  them  is  chargeable  with 
injustice. 

I  have  hinted  above,  that  the  name  loyalist  was  improperly 
assumed  by  these  people.  Royalists  they  may  perhaps  be 
called.  But  the  true  loyalists  were  the  people  of  America, 
against  whom  they  acted.  No  people  were  ever  known  more 
truly  loyal,  and  universally  so,  to  their  soverigns.  The 
Protestant  succession  in  the  House  of  Hanover  was  their  idol. 
Not  a  Jacobite  was  to  be  found  from  one  end  of  the  Colonies 
to  the  other.  They  were  affectionate  to  the  people  of  England, 
zealous  and  forward  to  assist  in  her  wars,  by  voluntary  con- 
tributions of  men  and  money,  even  beyond  their  proportion. 
The  King  and  Parliament  had  frequently  acknowledged 
this  by  public  messages,  resolutions,  and  reimbursements. 
But  they  were  equally  fond  of  what  they  esteemed  their 
rights ;  and,  if  they  resisted  when  those  were  attacked,  it  was 
a  resistance  in  favour  of  a  British  constitution,  which  every 
Englishman  might  share  in  enjoying,  who  should  come  to 
live  among  them ;  it  was  resisting  arbitrary  impositions,  that 
were  contrary  to  common  right  and  to  their  fundamental  con- 
stitutions, and  to  constant  ancient  usage.  It  was  indeed  a 
resistance  in  favour  of  the  liberties  of  England,  which  might 
have  been  endangered  by  success  in  the  attempt  against  ours ; 
and  therefore  a  great  man  in  your  Parliament  *  did  not 
scruple  to  declare,  he  rejoiced  that  America  had  resisted.  I, 
for  the  same  reason,  may  add  this  very  resistance  to  the 
other  instances  of  their  loyalty.  I  have  already  said,  that  I 
think  it  just  you  should  reward  those  Americans,  who  joined 
your  troops  in  the  war  against  their  own  country ;  but,  if  ever 

1  The  first  Lord  Chatham.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  MRS.  MARY  HEWSON  351 

honesty  could  be  inconsistent  with  policy,  it  is  so  in  this 

instance.    I  am,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1577.    TO   MRS.   MARY  HEWSON1     (P.  c.) 

Passy,  June  26,  1785. 
DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  wrote  to  you  the  5th  of  last  Month,  and  have  since  re- 
ceived your  kind  Letter  of  the  8th,  informing  me  of  your 
Welfare,  and  that  of  the  dear  Children,  which  gave  me  great 
Pleasure.  I  shall  long  to  see  you  all  again  in  America,  where 
I  hope  to  be  soon.  Almost  all  my  things  are  now  packed 
up,  and  will  be  hi  the  Barge  next  Wednesday,  to  go  down 
the  River;  for,  though  I  know  not  yet  what  Vessel  I  shall 
go  in,  I  would  have  every  thing  at  Havre  ready  to  embark; 
and  I  suppose  I  shall  not  be  here  myself  a  Fortnight  longer. 

I  say  nothing  to  persuade  you  to  go  with  me  or  to  follow  me ; 
because  I  know  you  do  not  usually  act  from  Persuasion,  but 
from  Judgment ;  and,  as  that  is  very  sound,  I  leave  you  to 
yourself.  You  will  do  what  is  best  for  you  and  yours,  and  that 
will  give  me  most  pleasure.  Miss  Lamotte's  Friends  do  not 
consent  to  her  going  to  England.  I  enclose  her  Letter,  by 
which  you  will  see,  that,  tho'  she  speaks  the  Language  prettily, 
she  does  not  write  it  correctly.  Indeed,  abundance  of  the 
French  are  deficient  in  their  own  Orthography.  I  offered  her, 
as  you  desir'd,  the  Money  that  might  be  necessary  for  the 
Journey. 

Temple  is  not  yet  quite  well,  having  had  several  Returns 
of  his  Ague.  Benjamin  continues  hearty,  and  has  been  very 
serviceable  in  Packing.  They  both  present  their  Respects. 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.  —  ED. 


352       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

If  you  should  write  me  a  Line  before  my  Departure,  direct 
it  to  Havre  de  Grace.  Adieu,  my  very  dear  Friend,  and 
believe  me  ever  yours  with  sincere  and  great  Affection, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.    My  love  to  every  one  of  the  Children. 


1578.    TO   MRS.   MARY  HEWSON1     (P.  c.) 

Passy,  July  4,  1785. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

By  this  Post  I  have  given  Orders  to  engage  a  fine  Ship, 
now  at  London,  to  carry  me  and  my  Family  to  Philadelphia, 
My  Baggage  is  already  on  the  Seine,  going  down  to  Havre, 
from  whence,  if  the  Captain  cannot  call  for  us  there,  we  shall 
cross  the  Channel,  and  meet  him  at  Cowes,  in  the  Isle  of  Wight. 
The  Ship  has  a  large,  convenient  Cabin,  with  good  Lodging- 
Places.  The  whole  to  be  at  my  Disposition,  and  there  is 
plenty  of  room  for  you  and  yours.  You  may  never  have  so 
good  an  Opportunity  of  passing  to  America,  if  it  is  your  Inten- 
tion. Think  of  it,  and  take  your  Resolution;  believing  me 

ever  your  affectionate  Friend, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Love  to  the  dear  Children.  If  Mr.  Williams  is 
return'd  to  London,  he  will  inform  you  of  the  particulars. 
If  not,  you  may  enquire  of  Wallace,  Johnson,  and  Muir, 
Merchants,  London,  to  be  heard  of  at  the  Pensilvania  Coffee- 
House,  Birchin  Lane.  The  Ship  is  to  be  at  Cowes  the  ist 
of  August. 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  CLAUDIUS  CRIGAN  353 

1579.    TO   EDWARD   BRIDGEN1        (L.C.) 

Passy,  July  4,  1785 

DEAR  SIR:  —  I  received  your  favour  of  the  28th  past.2 
Agreeable  to  your  desire,  I  inform  you  that  I  hope  to  be  at 
Havre  about  the  2oth  instant.  My  packages  are  gone  down 
the  river.  Mr.  Williams  was  to  ask  for  my  "Transactions 
of  the  Royal  Society."  If  he  has  not  got  them  I  should  be 
obliged  to  you  to  procure  and  join  them  to  those  of  the  An- 
tiquaries. I  am  not  certain  that  I  shall  stay  long  at  Havre ; 
for  if  Captain  Truxtun  cannot  call  for  me  there,  I  must  go 
over  to  meet  the  ship  at  the  Isle  of  Wight,  and  be  there  by  the 
ist  of  August.  This  to  yourself ;  but  you  may  learn  by  a  dis- 
tant question  at  the  Pennsylvania  Coffee-House,  for  your  own 
government,  whether  I  am  to  wait  at  Havre  for  the  ship,  or 
meet  heras  above.  The  person  to  enquire  of  is  Mr.  Johnson, 
a  Maryland  merchant.  The  books,  however,  should  be  put 
on  board  that  ship,  directed  for  me  at  Philadelphia. 

With  great  esteem,  I  am  ever,  my  dear  friend,  yours  affec- 
tionately, B.  FRANKLIN. 


1580.    TO   CLAUDIUS   CRIGAN3     (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  July  5.  1785. 

MY  LORD, 
I  received  the  too  complaisant  Letter  your  Lordship  did 

1  From  "  The  Complete  Works  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (Bigelow),  Vol.  IX, 
p.  139.  —  ED. 

«In  A.  P.  S.  — ED. 

*  Claudius  Crigan  or  Criggan  became  Bishop  of  Sodor  and  Man  in  1784, 
and  died  in  1813.  He  succeeded  Bishop  Mason.  According  to  Fraser's 
VOL.  IX  —  2  A 


354      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

me  the  honour  of  writing  to  me  by  the  Revd  Mr.  Christian,1 
who  has  also  communicated  some  of  your  Views  for  the  Bene- 
fit of  Religion  in  the  United  States  of  America,  requesting 
my  Opinion,  which  I  have  given  him,  but  will  repeat  in  this 
Letter,  lest  I  should  not  in  every  particular  have  been  rightly 
apprehended.  It  is  proper  to  be  understood  that  those  States 
consist  of  Thirteen  distinct  and  separate  Sovereignties,  each 
govern'd  by  its  own  Laws,  in  which  no  one  religious  Sect  is 
established  as  predominant,  but  there  is  a  general  Toleration 
of  all;  and  should  any  thing  be  enacted  by  one  of  them  in 
favour  of  a  particular  Sect,  it  would  have  no  Operation  in  the 
others.  The  Congress,  tho'  formed  by  Delegates  from  each 
State  chosen  annually,  has  Powers  extending  only  to  those 
general  Affairs  of  political  Government  that  relate  to  the 
Whole,  but  no  Authority  whatever  is  given  to  them  in  eccle- 
siastical Matters.  And  I  therefore  think  they  will  do  noth- 
ing either  to  encourage  or  discourage  the  Introduction  of  a 
Bishop  in  America.  For  myself,  I  can  only  say  as  a  private 
Person,  that  I  think  such  an  Officer  may  be  of  use  to  the  Epis- 
copalians, not  only  for  the  better  Government  of  their  Clergy, 
but  for  preventing  the  Expence  and  Risque  that  attend  the 
sending  their  young  Men  to  England  for  Ordination.  He 

Magazine,  Vol.  XXI,  p.  558  (April,  1840),  his  character  is  thus  sketched  by  a 
contemporary  writer :  — 

"  Of  living  characters  it  is  proper  to  speak  with  caution,  lest  adulation  or 
prejudice  should  be  either  seen  or  suspected :  but  we  scarcely  think  there  is 
one  person  who  knows  anything  of  this  amiable  prelate  that  will  refuse  him 
the  praise  of  polished  and  conciliating  manners,  of  sound  judgment,  and 
domestic  worth.  His  pulpit  eloquence  is  impressive,  and  his  labours  have  not 
only  tended  to  the  eternal,  but  also  to  the  temporal  happiness  of  his  flock. 
He  has  promoted  internal  peace,  and  taught  society  the  blessings  of  unanimity 
and  order."  —  ED. 

1  Evan  Christian,  Vicar  general  of  the  Bishop  of  Sodor  and  Man,  one  of 
the  well-known  family  of  Christians  of  Milntown  in  the  Isle  of  Man.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO   CLAUDIUS  CRIGAN  355 

should  however  have  Power  to  consecrate  other  Bishops, 
so  as  to  prevent  for  ever  the  Necessity  of  sending  to  England 
for  Successors  in  that  Station,  otherwise  he  will  hardly  be 
so  well  received.  The  great  Difficulty  will  be  to  make  proper 
Provision  for  his  Support.  I  doubt  whether  any  of  the  Gov- 
ernments will  establish  such  Support,  and  I  have  not  much 
Confidence  that  any  thing  considerable  may  be  obtained  by 
private  Contributions.  My  Reasons  are,  that  the  Episco- 
palians in  most  of  the  States  are  very  small  in  Number  com- 
par'd  with  the  Inhabitants  of  other  Persuasions ;  and  where 
they  are  a  Majority,  they  do  not  generally  see  the  Necessity 
or  Utility  of  a  Resident  Bishop,  and  they  apprehend  some 
Inconveniences  in  it.  Of  this  there  was  a  strong  Instance  in 
Virginia  some  years  before  the  late  Revolution.  The  In- 
habitants of  that  Province  were  almost  wholly  of  the  Church 
of  England,  and  their  House  of  Commons  of  course  the  same. 
Yet  that  House  unanimously  censured  in  strong  Terms,  the 
Proposition  of  some  of  their  own  Clergy  for  introducing  a 
Bishop,  and  thank 'd  others  who  oppos'd  &  defeated  the 
Project,  as  may  be  seen  in  the  following  Extract  from  their 
Journal,  viz 

Friday,  July  12.  1772 

11  Resolved,  nemine  contradicente,  That  the  Thanks  of  the 
House  be  given  to  the  Reverend  Mr.  Henley,  the  Reverend  Mr. 
Gwatkin,  the  Reverend  Mr.  Hewit,  and  the  Reverend  Mr. 
Bland  for  the  wise  and  well-timed  Opposition  they  have  made 
to  the  pernicious  Project  of  a  few  mistaken  Clergymen  for 
introducing  an  American  Bishop ;  a  Measure  by  which  much 
Disturbance,  great  Anxiety  and  Apprehension  would  certainly 
take  place  among  his  Majesty's  faithful  American  Subjects: 


356       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

And  that  Mr.  Richard  Henry  Lee  and  Mr.  Bland  do  acquaint 
them  therewith." 

The  Apprehension  mentioned  in  this  Resolve,  I  imagine 
must  have  been,  an  Apprehension  of  Expence  to  maintain  a 
Bishop  suitable  to  his  Dignity,  and  of  Attempts  to  oblige  the 
Laity  to  defray  such  Expence  by  Taxes,  or  Tythes,  or  at  least 
of  their  being  solicited  for  voluntary  Contributions :  there  being 
at  present  no  Fund  appointed  for  such  Purpose,  nor  any  thing 
hitherto  given  but  a  Farm  by  Legacy  in  Rhodisland.  If 
however  the  Laity  should  have  chang'd  their  Minds,  and  wish 
now  to  have  a  Bishop,  whom  they  would  engage  to  support 
by  voluntary  Contributions;  in  that  case  I  imagine  none  of 
the  Governments  would  forbid  it,  but  the  Support  would 
probably  be  too  small  and  too  precarious  to  be  a  sufficient 
Encouragement. 

Mr.  Christian  ask'd  my  Opinion  whether  your  making  a 
Tour  incognito  thro'  that  Country,  might  not  be  a  prudent 
Measure  ?  Whatever  Prospect  or  Hope  there  may  be  of  your 
greater  Usefulness  to  Religion  in  our  extensive  Country 
than  in  the  little  Isle  of  Man,  yet,  as  you  have  a  Family,  I 
certainly  cannot  advise  your  making  any  hasty  Application  to 
your  Government  for  your  Removal,  or  taking  any  Step  that 
may  hazard  the  loss  of  a  present  sure  Support  against  a  con- 
tingent Future  and  precarious.  Therefore,  to  enable  your- 
self to  form  a  better  Judgment,  it  might  be  well  to  see  with 
your  own  Eyes  the  State  of  Things,  and  sound  the  Disposition 
of  the  People ;  but  I  am  nevertheless  inclined  to  think,  that, 
in  making  the  Tour,  you  will  hardly  be  encouraged  to  attempt 
the  Change,  unless  the  Society  for  Propagating  the  Gospel, 
or  the  British  Government,  would  fix  a  sufficient  Income  to 
be  paid  you  from  England.  Such  a  Journey  may,  however, 


1785]  TO   GRANVILLE  SHARP  357 

contribute  to  establish  Health,  as  well  as  pleasingly  gratify 
the  Curiosity  of  seeing  the  Progress,  which  the  Arts,  Agricul- 
ture, Science,  and  Industry  are  making  in  a  new  Country. 
With  great  Respect,  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1581.    TO    GRANVILLE   SHARP1 

Passy,  July  5,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, 

I  received  the  books  you  were  so  kind  as  to  send  me  by  Mr. 
Drown.2  Please  to  accept  my  hearty  thanks.  Your  writings, 
which  always  have  some  public  good  for  their  object,  I  always 
read  with  pleasure.  I  am  perfectly  of  your  opinion,  with 
respect  to  the  salutary  law  of  gavelkind,  and  hope  it  may  in 
time  be  established  throughout  America.  In  six  of  the  States, 
already,  the  lands  of  intestates  are  divided  equally  among 
the  children,  if  all  girls;  but  there  is  a  double  share  given  to 
the  eldest  son,  for  which  I  see  no  more  reason,  than  giving 
such  share  to  the  eldest  daughter;  and  think  there  should  be 
no  distinction.  Since  my  being  last  in  France,  I  have  seen 
several  of  our  eldest  sons,  spending  idly  their  fortunes  by 
residing  in  Europe  and  neglecting  their  own  country;  these 
are  from  the  southern  States.  The  northern  young  men  stay 
at  home,  and  are  industrious,  useful  citizens ;  the  more  equal 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818),  Vol. 
I,  p.  192.  Granville  Sharp  (1735-1813),  philanthropist  and  pamphleteer. 
He  started  a  movement  for  the  introduction  of  Episcopacy  into  the  United 
States.  He  was  aided  by  Thomas  Seeker,  archbishop  of  Canterbury,  and  for 
his  efforts  in  this  cause  he  received  honorary  degrees  from  Harvard  and 
William  and  Mary.  —  ED. 

8  Solomon  Drown,  of  Providence,  Rhode  Island,  a  student  of  medicine. —  ED. 


358       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

division  of  their  fathers'  fortunes  not  enabling  them  to  ramble 
and  spend  their  shares  abroad,  which  is  so  much  the  better 
for  their  country. 

I  like  your  piece  on  the  election  of  bishops.  There  is  a  fact 
in  Holinshed's  Chronicles ,  the  latter  part  relating  to  Scotland, 
which  shows,  if  my  memory  does  not  deceive  me,  that  the  first 
bishop  in  that  country  was  elected  by  the  clergy.  I  mentioned 
it  some  time  past  in  a  letter  to  two  young  men,1  who  asked  my 
advice  about  obtaining  ordination,  which  had  been  denied 
them  by  the  bishops  in  England,  unless  they  would  take  the 
oath  of  allegiance  to  the  King;  and  I  said,  I  imagine  that 
unless  a  bishop  is  soon  sent  over  with  power  to  consecrate 
others,  so  that  we  may  have  no  future  occasion  for  applying 
to  England  for  ordination,  we  may  think  it  right,  after  read- 
ing your  piece,  to  elect  also. 

The  Liturgy  you  mention  was  an  abridgment  of  that  made 
by  a  noble  Lord  2  of  my  acquaintance,  who  requested  me  to 
assist  him  by  taking  the  rest  of  the  book,  viz.  the  Catechism 
and  the  reading  and  singing  Psalms.  These  I  abridged  by 
retaining  of  the  Catechism  only  the  two  questions,  What  is 
your  duty  to  God?  What  is  your  duty  to  your  neighbour? 
with  answers.  The  Psalms  were  much  contracted  by  leav- 
ing out  the  repetitions  (of  which  I  found  more  than  I  could 
have  imagined),  and  the  imprecations,  which  appeared  not 
to  suit  well  the  Christian  doctrine  of  forgiveness  of  injuries, 
and  doing  good  to  enemies.  The  book  was  printed  for  Wilkie, 
in  St.  Paul's  Church  Yard,  but  never  much  noticed.  Some 
were  given  away,  very  few  sold,  and  I  suppose  the  bulk  be- 
came waste  paper.  In  the  prayers  so  much  was  retrenched, 

1  See  the  Letter  to  Messrs.  Weems  and  Gant,  July  i8th,  1784.  — ED. 

2  Lord  Le  Despencer.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  DAVID  HARTLEY  359 

that  approbation  could  hardly  be  expected;  but  I  think, 
with  you,  a  moderate  abridgment  might  not  only  be  useful, 
but  generally  acceptable.1 

I  am  now  on  the  point  of  departing  for  America  where  I 
shall  be  glad  occasionally  to  hear  from  you,  and  of  your  wel- 
fare ;  being  with  sincere  and  great  esteem,  dear  Sir,  your  most 

obedient  and  most  humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1582.    TO    DAVID   HARTLEY3 

Passy,  July  5,  1785. 

I  CANNOT  quit  the  coasts  of  Europe  without  taking  leave 
of  my  ever  dear  Friend  Mr.  Hartley.  We  were  long  fellow 
labourers  in  the  best  of  all  works,  the  work  of  peace.  I  leave 
you  still  in  the  field,  but  having  finished  my  day's  task,  I  am 
going  home  to  go  to  bed!  Wish  me  a  good  night's  rest,  as  I 
do  you  a  pleasant  evening.  Adieu !  and  believe  me  ever 
yours  most  affectionately,  B.  FRANKLIN, 

in  his  8oth  year. 

1  On  this  subject   Mr.  Sharp  had  written  as  follows :    "  I   have  been  in- 
formed, that  several  years  ago,  you  revised  the  Liturgy  of  the  Church  of 
England,  with  a  view,  by  some  few  alterations,  to  promote  the  more  general 
use  of  it;   but  I  have  never  yet  been  able  to  see  a  Copy  of  the  form  you  pro- 
posed.    Our  present  public  Service  is  certainly,  upon  the  whole,  much  too 
long,  as  it  is  commonly  used;   so  that  a  prudent  revision  of  it,  by  the  common 
consent  of  the  Members  of  the  Episcopal  Church  in  America,  might  be  very 
advantageous;  though,  for  my  own  part,  I  conceive,  that  the  addition  of  one 
single  Rubric  from  the  Gospel  would  be  amply  sufficient  to  direct  the  advisers 
to  the  only  corrections  that  seem  to  be  necessary  at  present.    I  mean  a  general 
fluff,  illustrated  by  proper  examples,  references,  and  marks,  to  warn  officiat- 
ing Ministers  how  they  may  avoid  ay  useless  repetitions  &  tautology  in  reading 
the  service."  —  London,  June  17,  1785.     (A.  P.  S.)  — ED. 

2  From  "The    Private   Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  194.  —  ED. 


360      THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

1583.    TO   JONATHAN   WILLIAMS1     (p.  c.) 

Passy  July  5.  1785 

DEAR  COUSIN 

I  have  just  received  your  Letter  from  Dublin  acquainting 
me  that  you  were  in  Treaty  for  a  Vessel  to  take  me  in  from 
Havre.  I  have  already  thro'  Mr.  Johnson  agreed  to  go  with 
Capt.  Truxton,  who  is  to  meet  me  at  Cowes ;  so  that  an  Agree- 
ment with  any  other  is  needless.  I  am  nevertheless  oblig'd 
by  your  kind  Attention.  We  are  to  be  at  Cowes  and  sail 
from  thence  the  first  of  August.  I  hope  your  Affairs  will 
allow  your  joining  us  there.  It  is  a  fine  Ship  of  400  Tons 
with  excellent  Accommodations  for  Passengers.  Our  Lug- 
gage is  gone  down  the  River  and  we  follow  in  a  few  Days. 
Your  Family  was  well  on  Sunday.  I  am  ever 
Your  affectionate  Uncle 

B.  FRANKLIN 


1584.    TO   COMTE   DE   SALMES     (U.OFP.) 

Passy,  July  5.  1785. 

SIR, 

I  received  the  Letter  you  did  me  the  honour  of  writing  to 
me  some  time  since,  respecting  the  Application  of  Keys  to 
the  Harmonica  as  contrived  by  Abbe*  Perno ;  and  requesting 
to  know  if  any  thing  of  the  kind  had  been  done  at  Paris,  Lon- 
don or  elsewhere.  When  I  was  in  London,  about  12  years 
since,  Mr  Steele  an  ingenious  Musician  there,  made  an  Attempt 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Louis  A.  Biddle,  Esq.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  COMTE  DE  SALMES  361 

of  that  sort;  but  the  Tones  were  with  Difficulty  produc'd 
by  the  Touch  from  the  Keys,  and  the  Machinery  in  Playing 
made  so  much  Noise  and  Rattle,  as  to  diminish  greatly  the 
Pleasure  given  by  the  Sound  of  the  Glasses;  so  that  I  think 
the  Instrument  was  never  compleated.  The  Duchess  of  - 
at  Paris  about  the  same  time  endeavour'd  to  obtain  the  same 
End,  and  has  not  yet  laid  aside  the  Project,  tho'  it  has  not 
hitherto  perfectly  succeeded.  Baron  Feriet  of  Versailles, 
began  to  work  on  the  same  Idea  about  the  Time  I  receiv'd 
your  Letter ;  and  as  he  is  a  very  ingenious  Man,  &  has  a  hand 
to  execute  as  well  as  a  head  to  contrive  the  necessary  Ma- 
chinery, I  hoped  soon  to  have  given  you  an  Account  of  his 
Success :  but  I  begin  to  doubt  it,  as  I  have  nothing  from  him 
lately.  In  my  Manner  of  Playing  on  my  Instrument  the  Fin- 
gers are  capable  of  Touching  with  great  Delicacy ;  and  the 
Glasses  hum  so  smoothly,  that  one  hears  no  other  Sound  but 
that  given  by  the  touch.  If  the  Instrument  of  Abbe*  Perno  has 
the  same  Advantages,  its  being  play'd  with  Keys  gives  it  an 
undoubted  Preference,  and  I  should  be  glad  to  know  the  Con- 
struction. 

I  should  be  happy  if  I  had  any  thing  to  send  to  the  Academy 
worthy  its  Acceptance.  My  Occupations  have  for  some  Years 
past,  prevented  my  Attention  to  philosophical  Subjects.  I 
can  only  wish  Success  to  its  laudable  Pursuits ;  and  beg  you 
to  believe  me,  with  sincere  Esteem 

Sir, 
B.  FRANKLIN. 


362       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

1585.    TO   JOHN   PAUL   JONES         (B.  M.) 

Passy,  July  9,  '85. 

MR.  Franklin  presents  his  Compliments  to  Commodore 
Jones,  and  sends  him  what  Papers  can  now  be  found  respect- 
ing his  Affairs.  The  Correspondence  with  the  Ministers  of 
Denmark  being  pack'd  up  and  gone;  but  that  is  not  very 
material. 

Mr.  F's  best  Wishes  attend  you. 


1586.    TO    CHARLES-JOSEPH    MATRON    DE    LA 

COUR1  (A.  p.  s.) 

Passy,  July  9,  1785. 

SIR, 

I  have  received  the  letter,  which  you  did  me  the  honour  to 
write  in  the  name  of  the  Academy  of  the  city  of  Lyons.  I 
accept  with  gratitude  the  title,  with  which  this  learned  Society 
is  kind  enough  to  honour  me.  I  have  long  been  acquainted 
with  its  useful  labours.  I  should  be  most  happy  to  live  near  it, 
and  reap  the  benefit  of  its  instruction.  But,  being  on  the  eve 
of  my  departure  for  America,  I  must  add  this  also  to  the  many 
sources  of  regret,  which  the  kindness  of  the  French  calls  forth 
in  my  heart.  I  shall  never  forget  what  I  owe  to  them,  still 
less  what  I  owe  to  your  Academy,  to  the  members  of  which 
I  beg  you  to  present  my  respectful  acknowledgments. 

I  thank  you,  Sir,  for  your  Dissertation  on  the  Laws  of  Ly- 

1  From  a  French  copy  in  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  MRS.  JANE  MECOM  363 

curgus,  and  your  Testament  de  ]ortune  Ricard.1  With  the  latter 
work  I  was  already  acquainted.  I  had  read  it  with  pleasure, 
and  conceived  a  high  opinion  of  its  author.  I  have  just  read 
your  Dissertation.  If  my  own  approbation  could  add  any  thing 
to  that  of  the  celebrated  Academy,  which  has  awarded  to  you 
the  prize,  I  should  tell  you,  that  I  have  been  highly  gratified, 
and  that  I  only  regret  I  can  give  you  no  other  prize,  than  the 
sentiments  of  regard  and  respect,  with  which  I  am,  Sir,  &c. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1587.    TO    MRS.    JANE   MECOM2         (P.  c.) 
St.  Germain,  12  Miles  from  Paris,  July  13,  '85. 

DEAR  SISTER 

I  left  Passy,  yesterday  afternoon,  and  am  here  in  my  Way 
to  Havre  de  Grace  a  Seaport,  in  order  to  embark  for  America. 
I  make  use  of  one  of  the  King's  Litters  carried  by  Mules, 
who  walk  steadily  and  easily,  so  that  I  bear  the  Motion  very 
well.  I  am  to  be  taken  on  board  a  Philadelphia  Ship  on  the 
Coast  of  England,  (Capt.  Truxton)  the  beginning  of  next 
Month.  Not  having  written  to  you  since  that  which  contain 'd 
a  Bill  for  you  on  M*  Vernon,  and  as  I  may  not  have  another 
Opportunity  before  my  Arrival  in  Philadelphia,  (if  it  pleases 
God  I  do  arrive)  I  write  these  Particulars  to  go  by  way  of 
England,  that  you  may  be  less  uneasy  about  me.  I  did  my 
last  public  Act  in  this  Country  just  before  I  set  out,  which 
was  signing  a  Treaty  of  Amity  and  Commerce  with  Prussia. 

1  A  translation  of  this  curious  piece  was  published  by  Dr.  Price  in  London, 
as  an  Appendix  to  his  Observations  on  the  Importance  of  the  American  Revo- 
lution. —  ED. 

2  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  E.  B.  Holden.  —  ED. 


364       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

I  have  continu'd  to  work  till  late  in  the  Day :  tis  time  I  should 
go  home,  and  go  to  Bed. 

My  Love  to  your  Daughter  and  to  Cousin  Williams,  & 
believe  me  ever,  my  dear  Sister, 

Your  Affectionate  Brother 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

Tho'  going  to  my  own  Country,  I  leave  this  with  Regret 
having  receiv'd  so  much  Kindness  in  it,  from  all  Ranks  of 
People.  Temple  and  Benjamin  are  with  me,  and  send  their 
dutiful  Respects. 


1588.    TO   MADAME  HELVfiTIUS1      (B.  N.) 

Au  Havre,  ce  19  Juillet,  '85. 

Nous  arrivar[m]ons  ici,  ma  tre*s  chere  amie,  hier  au  soir  bien 
heureusement.  Je  n'etois  pas  fatigue*  du  tout.  Je  me 
trouvois  mieux  mSme  qu'avant  mon  Depart.  Nous  reste- 
rons  ici  quelque  jour  pour  nos  Baggages  &  pour  notre  Com- 
pagnon  de  Voyage  M.  Houdon.  A  leur  Arrive'e,  nous  quit- 
terons  la  France,  la  Pais  du  monde  que  faime  le  plus;  &  j'y 
laisserois  ma  chere  Helvetia.  Elle  y  peut  toe  heureux.  Je 
ne  suis  sur  d'etre  heureux  in  Amerique ;  mais  il  faut  que  je 
m'y  rende.  II  me  semble  que  les  choses  sont  mal  arranges 
dans  ce  bas  monde,  quand  je  vais  que  les  etres  si  faites  pour 
etre  heureux  ensemble  sont  obliges  a  se  separer. 

J'ai  trouve"  tant  de  Difficultes  dans  ma  Projet  de  passer  de 
Rouen  ici  par  Eau,  que  j'etois  fort  aise  de  Pavoir  obtenu  du 

1  It  should  perhaps  be  noted  that  the  letters  to  Madame  Helvetius  were 
written  by  Franklin  without  correction,  and  they  show  what  his  "having"  in 
French  really  was.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  BENJAMIN  VAUGHAN  365 

bon  Due  de  Coigny  la  permission  de  continuer  en  Litiere. 
Dites  a  les  Abbe's,  les  bons  Abbe's,  les  choses  pour  moi, 
pleins  d'Amitit.  Je  ne  vous  dis  pas  que  je  vous  aime.  On 
me  diroit  qu'il  n'y  a  rien  d'extraordinaire  ni  point  de  merite 
en  ca,  parceque  tous  le  monde  vous  aime,  J'espere  seulement 
que  vous  m'aimerez  toujours  un  peu.  Je  suis  interromper 
par  des  Visites.  Avant  de  partir  je  vous  dirai  mes  dernieres 

Adieux. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1589.    TO    BENJAMIN   VAUGHAN » 

Southampton,  8  o'clock,  A.  M.,  July  24,  1785 
MY   VERY   DEAR   FRIEND, 

I  am  this  minute  arrived  here  with  my  family  from  Havre 
de  Grace ;  and  shall  stay  here  till  Captain  Truxtun  arrives  at 
Cowes  to  take  us  in.2  I  write  this  line,  just  to  inform  you,  that 

1  First  printed  by  Sparks,  Vol.  X,  p.  217.  —  ED. 

2  Thomas  Truxtun,  distinguished  in  the  naval  annals  of  the  United  States, 
was  born  on  Long  Island,  February  1 7th,  1755.     He  manifested  an  early  predi- 
lection for  the  sea,  and  made  his  first  voyage  when  he  was  twelve  years  old. 
During  a  part  of  the  Revolution  he  commanded  several  private  armed  vessels, 
in  which  he  was  successful  in  annoying  the  enemy's  commerce,  particularly  on 
the  coast  of  England.     He  signalized  himself  for  courage  and  skill  in  two  or 
three  engagements.     When  the  navy  was  revived,  on  the  prospect  of  a  war 
with  France,  in  1794,  Truxtun  was  one  of  the  six  captains  first  nominated  by 
Washington  to  the  Senate.      He  superintended  the  building  of  the  frigate 
Constellation,  with  which,  and  a  small  squadron  under  his  command,  he  was 
employed  in  protecting  the  American  commerce  in  the  West  Indies.     It  was 
here  that  he  fought  his  celebrated  action  with  the  French  frigate  Insurgente, 
on  the  pth  of  February,  1799.     After  an  engagement  of  an  hour  and  a  quarter 
the  Insurgente  struck  her  colors.    This  vessel  carried  forty  guns,  and  four 
hundred  and  seventeen  men;  of  whom  twenty-nine  were  killed  and  forty-four 
wounded.     The  Constellation  carried  thirty-six  guns,  and  had  but  one  man 
killed  and  two  wounded.    The  gallantry  displayed   by  Commodore  Truxtun 
on  this  occasion  was  highly  applauded.  —  S. 


366        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

I  bore  the  journey  to  Havre,  in  one  of  the  King's  litters,  very 
well,  and  the  voyage  also  from  thence  hither  in  forty-five 
hours,  though  the  wind  was  a  great  part  of  the  time  contrary. 
I  shall  be  glad  of  a  line  from  you,  acquainting  me  whether  you 
ever  received  two  pieces  I  sent  you  some  months  since ;  one 
on  your  penal  laws,  the  other  an  account  of  the  residence  of 
an  English  seaman  in  China.1  As  you  commonly  said  some- 
thing to  me  concerning  the  things  I  used  to  send  you,  I  appre- 
hend you  either  have  not  received  these,  or  do  not  like  them. 
If  you  have  any  thing  to  say  by  me  to  your  friends  in  America, 
send  it,  and  I  will  take  care  to  deliver  it.  Adieu,  my  dearest 

friend.    I  am  ever  yours, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1590.    TO  RUELLAN   &  CO.2  (L.  c.) 

Southampton,  July  25,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR:  —  We  arrived  here  yesterday  Morning  about 
8  o'Clock.  I  was  not  in  the  least  incommoded  by  the  Voyage, 
but  M.  Le  Veillard  and  my  Grandsons  were  all  very  sick  upon 
the  Passage,  tho'  now  recover'd  and  well. 

Capt.  Jennings  staying  here  till  to-morrow  Morning,  and 
having  heard  since  my  coming  here  that  the  ship  has  sailed 
from  London,  I  begin  to  fear  it  will  be  impossible  for  him  to 
return  in  time  with  the  rest  of  my  Baggage,  supposing  it  to 
be  now  at  Havre. 

I  have  forwarded  your  Letter  of  Credit  to  Messrs.  Thel- 
lusson,3  and  ask'd  them  to  give  me  a  Credit  here  for  Fifty 

1  See  supra,  p.  200.  —  ED.  2  Bankers  at  Havre.  —  ED. 

3  Peter  Thellusson,  Sons  &  Co.,  bankers  in  London.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  JEAN  HOLKER  367 

Guineas,  if  I  should  want  so  much,  but  as  my  Stay  is  like  to 
be  very  short,  I  know  not  yet  whether  I  shall  have  occasion  to 
make  any  use  of  it.  I  am  nevertheless  extreamly  sensible 
of  the  Kindness  and  Generosity  of  your  Proceeding  in  that 
Letter,  as  well  as  in  every  other  Point  of  your  Friendly  En- 
tertainment and  good  Offices  at  Havre,  and  the  Provision 
you  laid  in  for  us.  I  can  at  present  only  offer  in  return  my 
thankfull  Acknowledgments,  requesting  that  if  at  any  time 
I  can  be  of  any  use  to  you  in  America,  or  to  any  Friend  of  yours, 
you  would  be  so  good  as  to  command  me  freely.  Be  pleased 
to  present  my  respectful  Compliments  to  good  Made  Ruellan. 
I  hope  the  Children  are  better. 

I  write  to  Mr.  Limozin,1  desiring  him  to  forward  my  Goods 
by  the  Pacquet,  in  Case  the  next  sails  from  Havre,  as  has  been 
said,  and  no  Vessel  offers  sooner  that  goes  directly  to  Phila- 
delphia. If  I  remember  right,  the  Regulations  of  the  Pac- 
quets  forbid  their  taking  heavy  Goods,  but  I  suppose  you  may 
be  able  to  obtain  Permission  for  mine,  which  will  be  an  addi- 
tional Favour.  With  great  Esteem,  etc., 

B.  FRANKLIN 


1591.    TO    JEAN  HOLKER  (L.  c.) 

Southampton,  July  25,  1785 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND  : — I  know  it  will  give  you  and  good  Mrs. 
Holker  Pleasure,  to  learn  that  we  arrived  safe  and  well  here 
yesterday  Morning,  neither  the  Journey  by  Land  nor  Voyage 
by  sea  having  incommoded  me  in  the  least.  I  have  given  you 
abundance  of  Trouble  with  my  little  Affairs,  and  am  loth  to 

1  Andre  Limozin,  Havre  banker,  and  United  States  agent  for  prizes.  —  ED. 


368        THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

give  you  any  more,  but  cannot  well  avoid  requesting  you 
would  be  so  kind  as  to  show  the  inclos'd  Account  to  Mr. 
Garvey  when  he  returns  to  Rouen,  and  represent  to  him  that 
the  Charge  his  Nephew  makes  of  Commissions,  three  Livres 
per  Box,  only  for  the  Care  of  having  my  128  Boxes  mov'd  out 
of  one  Boat  into  another,  appears  to  me  exorbitant,  amount- 
ing to  390  Livres,  near  as  much  as  the  Expence  of  bringing 
them  from  Paris  to  Rouen,  and  three  times  as  much  as  has 
been  demanded  of  me  for  their  Freight  between  Havre  and 
Cowes,  loading  and  discharging  included.  If  Mr.  Garvey 
confirms  the  Charge,  which  I  think  he  hardly  will,  let  him 
say  so  at  the  Bottom  of  the  Account,  and  then  send  it  with  this 
Letter  to  Mr.  Grand,  whom  I  hereby  desire  and  authorize 
to  pay  it ;  because  I  would  not  leave  any  just  Claim  upon  me 
remaining  in  France ;  tho'  I  should  wish  to  know  if  there  are 
any  Circumstances  I  am  unacquainted  with  that  can  make 
such  a  Charge  appear  reasonable.  God  bless  you  both,  my 
dear  Friends,  and  believe  me  ever,  with  a  Heart  deeply  sensible 
of  all  your  kindness,  yours  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1592.    TO   FERDINAND   GRAND         (L.  c.) 

Southampton,  July  25,  1785 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  I  wrote  a  few  lines  to  you  per  Post  yesterday 
morning,  to  acquaint  you  with  my  Arrival  here,  not  in  the 
least  incommoded  by  the  Journey  and  Voyage,  but  rather 
better  than  I  have  been  for  a  long  time  since. 

Our  Goods  that  were  sent  down  the  River  had  not  arrived 
at  Havre  when  we  left  that  Place,  and  as  I  learn  here  that  our 


1785]  TO  FERDINAND  GRAND  369 

Ship  was  at  Gravesend  the  22d.  and  expected  to  be  in  the 
Downs  yesterday  evening,  she  may  be  here  to-morrow,  so 
that  I  now  almost  despair  of  getting  them  at  Cowes  in  time  to 
go  in  her,  and  they  must  be  forwarded  in  the  August  Pacquet 
if  that  sails  from  Havre,  or  wait  some  other  Opportunity. 
To  me  the  Disappointment  will  not  be  much,  as  the  things  I 
most  immediately  want  came  down  by  the  Roulier,  and  are 
with  me,  but  Mr.  Houdon  will  be  at  a  loss  for  his  Clay,  etc. 
Mr.  Limozin  has  the  Care  of  receiving  and  forwarding  our 
things ;  but  the  Business  not  being  finish'd  I  could  not  settle 
the  Account  with  him,  but  have  directed  him  to  exhibit  it  to 
you,  and  I  desire  you  would  pay  it.  The  Person  who  manages 
Mr.  Garvey's  Business  in  his  absence  has  made  a  heavy 
Charge  against  me  as  his  Commission.  I  have  sent  the  Ac- 
count to  Mr.  Holker,  desiring  he  would  show  it  to  Mr.  Gar- 
vey  on  his  Return  and  acquaint  him  that  I  think  that  Charge 
enormous ;  but  if  he  confirms  it,  then  to  send  the  account  to 
you  with  my  Letter  in  which  I  desire  you  to  pay  it. 

To  assist  my  Grandson  in  a  Purchase  he  is  making  of  his 
Father  now  here,  perhaps  I  may  draw  on  you  in  favour  of 
the  Father  for  Forty-eight  thousand  Livres,  at  30  Days' 
Sight ;  in  which  Case  I  would  have  you  to  sell  Six  of  my  Ac- 
tions of  the  Caisse  d'Escompte,  and  add  to  the  Product  of  that 
sale  as  much  out  of  the  Ballance  of  my  Account  now  in  your 
hands  as  will  make  up  the  sum  of  48,000  Livres. 

My  best  Wishes  attend  you  and  yours,  being  with  sincere 
esteem,  Dear  Sir,  your  most  obliged  Friend  and  humble 
Serv*,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


VOL.  IX  — 2  B 


370       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 
1593.    TO   ANDRE  LIMOZIN  (L.  c.) 

Southampton,  July  25,  1785. 

SIR  : — We  arrived  here  on  Sunday  morning  about  7  o'clock. 
I  was  not  in  the  least  incommoded  by  the  voyage,  but  my  chil- 
dren and  my  friend  Mr.  Veillard  were  very  sick. 

I  have  just  learned  that  our  ship  was  at  Gravesend  the  22nd 
and  expected  to  be  in  the  Downs  yesterday,  and  therefore  may 
be  here  sooner  than  was  at  first  proposed,  so  that  I  have  now 
no  hopes  of  the  goods  being  here  in  time  to  go  in  her.  I  there- 
fore hereby  desire  you  would  forward  them  to  New  York 
in  the  packet,  in  case  a  packet  sails  from  Havre  next  month, 
as  has  been  proposed,  and  you  have  no  vessel  to  sail  directly 
for  Philadelphia.  The  packets  are  indeed  by  the  original 
regulations  not  allowed  to  take  heavy  goods  upon  freight, 
but  I  am  persuaded  Mr.  Ruellan  will  at  your  request  obtain 
the  permission.  I  write  to  Mr.  Grand  to  pay  your  account 
against  me  for  disbursements  and  commission.  And  I 
desire  you  besides  to  accept  my  thankful  acknowledgments. 
My  best  wishes  attend  you  and  your  amiable  daughter,  being 
with  great  regard,  sir,  your  most  obedient  and  most  humble 
servant,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


1594.    TO   MRS.   MARY  HEWSON1       (p.  c.) 

Southampton,  July  26,  1785. 

DEAR  FRIEND, 

I  received  here  yours  of  the  23d  Instant.    I  am  sorry  it  did 
not  suit  you  to  go  in  the  Ship  with  me,  having  engaged  Places 
1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  T.  Hewson  Bradford,  M.D.  —  ED. 


1785]  TO  J.    COAKLEY  LETTSOM  371 

in  the  Cabin,  that  would  have  accommodated  you  and  yours, 
not  indeed  on  your  Account,  because  I  never  depended  on  your 
going;  but  I  took  the  whole  Cabin,  that  I  might  not  be  in- 
truded on  by  any  accidental  disagreable  Company. 

If  you  come  to  Philadelphia,  you  will  find  an  always  affec- 
tionate Friend  in  me,  and  in  my  Children  after  I  am  gone. 
My  Love  to  yours,  and  to  Dolly;  and  my  Respects  to  Mrs. 
Hawkesworth.  I  came  to  Havre  de  Grace  in  a  Litter,  and 
hither  in  the  Pacquet-Boat ;  and,  instead  of  being  hurt  by 
the  Journey  or  Voyage,  I  really  find  myself  very  much  better, 
not  having  suffer'd  so  little  for  the  time  these  two  Years  past. 

Adieu,  my  dear  Friend;  accept  my  repeated  Thanks  for 
the  agreable  Winter  your  kind  Company,  with  that  of  my 
young  Friends,  made  me  pass,  and  believe  me  ever  yours 

sincerely  and  most  affectionately, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


1595.    TO    J.    COAKLEY   LETTSOM1 

Southampton,  July  26,  1785 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  I  received  your  kind  letter,  and  the  valuable 
present  of  Dr.  Fothergill's  Works ;  for  which  please  to  accept 
my  grateful  acknowledgments.  I  purpose,  on  my  voyage, 
to  write  the  remaining  notes  of  my  life,  which  you  desire,  and 
to  send  them  to  you  on  my  arrival.  You  have  done  a  good 
deed  in  contributing  to  promote  science  among  us,  by  your 
liberal  donation  of  books  to  Carlisle  College.  Thanks  for 
your  good  wishes  in  favour  of  our  country,  and  of  your  friend 
and  servant.  B.  FRANKLIN. 

1  From  "  The  Complete  Works  of  Benjamin  Franklin  "  (Bigelow),  Vol.  IX, 
p.  ISS.-ED. 


372        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 


1596.    TO    MADAME  HELVETIUS       (B.  N.) 

A  Southampton,  27  Juillet  1785 
En  Angleterre,  pres  1'Isle  de  Wight. 

Notre  Vaisseau  arrivait  ici  hier  de  Londres.  Aujourdhui 
nous  nous  embarquerons.  Adieu,  ma  tr6s  tre*s  tr6s  chere 
Amie,  Souhaitez  pour  nous  bon  Voyage,  &  dites  aux  bons 
Abbe's  de  prier  pour  nous,  cela  etant  leur  Metier.  Je  me 
trouve  tres  bien.  Si  j'arrive  en  Amerique  vous  aurez  bientot 
de  mes  Nouvelles.  Je  vous  aimerai  toujours,  penses  quelque- 

fois  de  moi,  &  ecrires  quelquefois  a 

Votre  B.  F. 
Mes  Enfans  presentans  leurs  Respects. 


1597.    TO    DAVID   LE   ROY1 

MARITIME   OBSERVATIONS 

At  Sea,  on  board  the  London  Packet, 
Capt.  Truxton,  August  1785. 

SIR, 

Your  learned  writings  on  the  navigation  of  the  antients, 
which  contain  a  great  deal  of  curious  information ;  and  your 

1  This  letter  was  translated  into  French,  and  published  at  Paris  in  the 
year  1787,  entitled,  "  Lettre  de  Monsieur  Benjamin  Franklin  a  Monsieur 
David  Le  Roy,  Membre  de  Plusieurs  Academies,  &*c."  The  following  note  is 
prefixed  by  the  French  editor.  — "  Cette  lettre  a  ete  lue  a  la  Societe  Philo- 
sophique  Americaine  de  Philadelphia,  le  2  Decembre,  1785.  Elle  est  imprimee 
dans  les  Memoires  de  cette  Societe.  On  lit  dans  le  titre,  a  M.  Alphonse  Le 
Roy.  Comme  cet  Academicien  ne  se  nomme  pas  Alphonse,  nous  y  avons 
substitue  1'un  de  ses  noms  de  baptlme.  II  est  de  1'Academie  des  Belles- 
Lettres,  de  celle  de  Marine,  de  la  Societe  des  Antiquaires  de  Londres,  de  la 
Societe  Philosophique  Americaine,  &c."  It  is  here  printed  from  "Transac- 
tions of  The  American  Philosophical  Society,"  Vol.  II  (1786),  p.  294.  — ED. 


Plat*-  XII 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  373 

very  ingenious  contrivances  for  improving  the  modern  sails 
(voilure),  of  which  I  saw  with  great  pleasure  a  successful 
trial  on  the  river  Seine,  have  induced  me  to  submit  to  your  con- 
sideration and  judgment,  some  thoughts  I  have  had  on  the 
latter  subject. 

Those  mathematicians  who  have  endeavoured  to  improve 
the  swiftness  of  vessels  by  calculating  to  find  the  form  of  least 
resistance,  seem  to  have  considered  a  ship  as  a  body  moving 
through  one  fluid  only,  the  water;  and  to  have  given  little 
attention  to  the  circumstance  of  her  moving  through  another 
fluid,  the  air.  It  is  true,  that,  when  a  vessel  sails  right  before 
the  wind,  this  circumstance  is  of  no  importance,  because  the 
wind  goes  with  her ;  but,  in  every  deviation  from  that  course, 
the  resistance  of  the  air  is  something,  and  becomes  greater 
in  proportion  as  that  deviation  increases.  I  wave  at  present 
the  consideration  of  those  different  degrees  of  resistance 
given  by  the  air  to  that  part  of  the  hull  which  is  above  water, 
and  confine  myself  to  that  given  to  the  sails ;  for  their  motion 
through  the  air  is  resisted  by  the  air,  as  the  motion  of  the  hull 
through  the  water  is  resisted  by  the  water,  though  with  less 
force  as  the  air  is  a  lighter  fluid.  And,  to  simplify  the  dis- 
cussion as  much  as  possible,  I  would  state  one  situation  only, 
to  wit,  that  of  the  wind  upon  the  beam,  the  ship's  course 
being  directly  across  the  wind ;  and  I  would  suppose  the  sail 
set  in  an  angle  of  forty-five  degrees  with  the  keel,  as  in  the 
following  figure;  wherein  (Plate  XII.  Fig.  i,)  A  B  represents 
the  body  of  the  vessel,  C  D  the  position  of  the  sail,  E  E  E  the 
direction  of  the  wind,  M  M  the  line  of  motion.  In  observing 
this  figure  it  will  appear,  that  so  much  of  the  body  of  the  vessel 
as  is  immersed  in  the  water  must,  to  go  forward,  remove  out 
of  its  way  what  water  it  meets  with  between  the  pricked  lines 


374       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

F  F.  And  the  sail,  to  go  forward,  must  move  out  of  its  way 
all  the  air  its  whole  dimension  meets  with  between  the  pricked 
lines  C  G  and  D  G.  Thus  both  the  fluids  give  resistance  to 
the  motion,  each  in  proportion  to  the  quantity  of  matter 
contained  in  the  dimension  to  be  removed.  And  though  the 
air  is  vastly  lighter  than  the  water,  and  therefore  more  easily 
removed,  yet,  the  dimension  being  much  greater,  its  effect  is 
very  considerable. 

It  is  true,  that,  in  the  case  stated,  the  resistance  given  by 
the  air  between  those  lines  to  the  motion  of  the  sail  is  not 
apparent  to  the  eye,  because  the  greater  force  of  the  wind,  which 
strikes  it  in  the  direction  E  E  E,  overpowers  its  effect,  and 
keeps  the  sail  full  in  the  curve  a,  a,  a,  a,  a.  But  suppose  the 
wind  to  cease,  and  the  vessel  in  a  calm  to  be  impelled  with  the 
same  swiftness  by  oars,  the  sail  would  then  appear  filled  in 
the  contrary  curve  ft,  b,  b,  b,  b,  when  prudent  men  would 
immediately  perceive,  that  the  air  resisted  its  motion,  and 
would  order  it  to  be  taken  in. 

Is  there  any  possible  means  of  diminishing  this  resistance, 
while  the  same  quantity  of  sail  is  exposed  to  the  action  of  the 
wind,  and  therefore  the  same  force  obtained  from  it  ?  I  think 
there  is,  and  that  it  may  be  done  by  dividing  the  sail  into  a 
number  of  parts,  and  placing  those  parts  in  a  line  one  behind 
the  other;  thus  instead  of  one  sail  extending  from  C  to  D, 
figure  2,  if  four  sails,  containing  together  the  same  quantity 
of  canvass,  were  placed  as  in  figure  3,  each  having  one  quarter 
of  the  dimensions  of  the  great  sail,  and  exposing  a  quarter  of 
its  surface  to  the  wind,  would  give  a  quarter  of  the  force; 
so  that  the  whole  force  obtained  from  the  wind  would  be  the 
same,  while  the  resistance  from  the  air  would  be  nearly  reduced 
to  the  space  between  the  pricked  lines  a  b  and  c  d,  before  the 
foremost  sail. 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  375 

It  may  perhaps  be  doubted  whether  the  resistance  from  the 
air  would  be  so  diminished  ;  since  possibly  each  of  the  follow- 
ing small  sails  having  also  air  before  it,  which  must  be  re- 
moved, the  resistance  on  the  whole  would  be  the  same. 

This  is  then  a  matter  to  be  determined  by  experiment. 
I  will  mention  one,  that  I  many  years  since  made  with  success 
for  another  purpose;  and  I  will  propose  another  small  one 
easily  made.  If  that  too  succeeds,  I  should  think  it  worth 
while  to  make  a  larger,  though  at  some  expence,  on  a  river 
boat;  and  perhaps  time  and  the  improvements  experience 
will  afford,  may  make  it  applicable  with  advantage  to  larger 
vessels. 

Having  near  my  kitchen  chimney  a  round  hole  of  eight 
inches  diameter,  through  which  was  a  constant  steady  current 
of  air,  increasing  or  diminishing  only  as  the  fire  increased  or 
diminished,  I  contrived  to  place  my  jack  so  as  to  receive  that 
current ;  and  taking  off  the  flyers,  I  fixed  in  their  stead  on  the 
same  pivot  a  round  tin  plate  of  nearly  the  same  diameter  with 
the  hole ;  and  having  cut  it  in  radial  lines  almost  to  the  centre, 
so  as  to  have  six  equal  vanes,  I  gave  to  each  of  them  the  ob- 
liquity of  forty-five  degrees.  They  moved  round,  without 
the  weight,  by  the  impression  only  of  the  current  of  air,  but 
too  slowly  for  the  purpose  of  roasting.  I  suspected  that  the 
air  struck  by  the  back  of  each  vane  might  possibly  by  its 
resistance  retard  the  motion ;  and  to  try  this,  I  cut  each  of  them 
into  two,  and  I  placed  the  twelve,  each  having  the  same  ob- 
liquity, in  a  line  behind  each  other,  when  I  perceived  a  great 
augmentation  in  its  velocity,  which  encouraged  me  to  divide 
them  once  more,  and,  continuing  the  same  obliquity,  I  placed 
the  twenty-four  behind  each  other  in  a  line,  when  the  force 
of  the  wind  being  the  same,  and  the  surface  of  vane  the  same, 


376        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

they  moved  round  with  much  greater  rapidity,  and  perfectly 
answered  my  purpose. 

The  second  experiment  that  I  propose,  is,  to  take  two  play- 
ing cards  of  the  same  dimensions,  and  cut  one  of  them  trans- 
versely into  eight  equal  pieces ;  then  with  a  needle  string  them 
upon  two  threads,  one  near  each  end,  and  place  them  so  upon 
the  threads  that,  when  hung  up,  they  may  be  one  exactly 
over  the  other,  at  a  distance  equal  to  their  breadth,  each  in  a 
horizontal  position;  and  let  a  small  weight,  such  as  a  bird- 
shot,  be  hung  under  them,  to  make  them  fall  in  a  straight  line 
when  let  loose.  Suspend  also  the  whole  card  by  threads 
from  its  four  corners,  and  hang  to  it  an  equal  weight,  so  as 
to  draw  it  downwards  when  let  fall,  its  whole  breadth  pressing 
against  the  air.  Let  those  two  bodies  be  attached,  one  of 
them  to  one  end  of  a  thread  a  yard  long,  the  other  to  the  other 
end.  Extend  a  twine  under  the  ceiling  of  a  room,  and  put 
through  it  at  thirty  inches  distance  two  pins  bent  in  the  form 
of  fish-hooks.  On  these  two  hooks  hang  the  two  bodies, 
the  thread  that  connects  them  extending  parallel  to  the  twine, 
which  thread  being  cut,  they  must  begin  to  fall  at  the  same  in- 
stant. If  they  take  equal  time  in  falling  to  the  floor,  it  is  a 
proof  that  the  resistance  of  the  air  is  in  both  cases  equal.  If 
the  whole  card  requires  a  longer  time,  it  shows  that  the  sum 
of  the  resistances  to  the  pieces  of  the  cut  card  is  not  equal  to 
the  resistance  of  the  whole  one.1 

This  principle  so  far  confirmed,  I  would  proceed  to  make 
a  larger  experiment,  with  a  shallop,  which  I  would  rig  in 
this  manner.  (Plate  XII.  Fig.  4.)  A  B  is  a  long  boom, 

1  The  motion  of  the  vessel  made  it  convenient  to  try  this  simple  experi- 
ment at  sea,  when  the  proposal  of  it  was  written.  But  it  has  been  tried  since 
we  came  on  shore,  and  succeeded  as  the  other.  —  F. 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  377 

from  which  are  hoisted  seven  jibs,  a,  6,  c,  d,  ey  /,  g,  each  a 
seventh  part  of  the  whole  dimensions,  and  as  much  more  as 
will  fill  the  whole  space  when  set  in  an  angle  of  forty-five 
degrees,  so  that  they  may  lap  when  going  before  the  wind, 
and  hold  more  wind  when  going  large.  Thus  rigged,  when 
going  right  before  the  wind,  the  boom  should  be  brought  at 
right  angles  with  the  keel,  by  means  of  the  sheet  ropes  C  D, 
and  all  the  sails  hauled  flat  to  the  boom. 

These  positions  of  boom  and  sails  to  be  varied  as  the  wind 
quarters.  But  when  the  wind  is  on  the  beam,  or  when  you 
would  turn  to  windward,  the  boom  is  to  be  hauled  right  fore 
and  aft,  and  the  sails  trimmed  according  as  the  wind  is  more 
or  less  against  your  course. 

It  seems  to  me,  that  the  management  of  a  shallop  so  rigged 
would  be  very  easy,  the  sails  being  run  up  and  down  separately, 
so  that  more  or  less  sail  may  be  made  at  pleasure ;  and  I 
imagine,  that  there  being  full  as  much  sail  exposed  to  the 
force  of  the  wind  which  impels  the  vessel  in  its  course,  as  if 
the  whole  were  in  one  piece,  and  the  resistance  of  the  dead 
air  against  the  foreside  of  the  sail  being  diminished,  the 
advantage  of  swiftness  would  be  very  considerable;  besides 
that  the  vessel  would  lie  nearer  the  wind. 

Since  we  are  on  the  subject  of  improvements  hi  navigation, 
permit  me  to  detain  you  a  little  longer  with  a  small  relative 
observation.  Being,  in  one  of  my  voyages,  with  ten  merchant 
ships  under  convoy  of  a  frigate  at  anchor  in  Torbay,  waiting 
for  a  wind  to  go  to  the  westward,  it  came  fair,  but  brought  in 
with  it  a  considerable  swell.  A  signal  was  given  for  weigh- 
ing, and  we  put  to  sea  all  together;  but  three  of  the  ships  left 
their  anchors,  their  cables  parting  just  as  the  anchors  came 
a-peak.  Our  cable  held,  and  we  got  up  our  anchor ;  but  the 


378        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

shocks  the  ship  felt  before  the  anchor  got  loose  from  the 
ground,  made  me  reflect  on  what  might  possibly  have  caused 
the  breaking  of  the  other  cables ;  and  I  imagined  it  might  be 
the  short  bending  of  the  cable  just  without  the  hawse-hole, 
from  a  horizontal  to  an  almost  vertical  position,  and  the  sudden 
violent  jerk  it  receives  by  the  rising  of  the  head  of  the  ship  on 
the  swell  of  a  wave  while  in  that  position.  For  example, 
suppose  a  vessel  hove  up  so  as  to  have  her  head  nearly  over 
her  anchor,  which  still  keeps  its  hold,  perhaps  in  a  tough 
bottom ;  if  it  were  calm,  the  cable  still  out  would  form  nearly 
a  perpendicular  line,  measuring  the  distance  between  the 
hause-hole  and  the  anchor ;  but  if  there  is  a  swell,  her  head  in 
the  trough  of  the  sea  will  fall  below  the  level,  and  when  lifted 
on  the  wave  will  be  much  above  it.  In  the  first  case  the  cable 
will  hang  loose  and  bend  perhaps  as  in  figure  5 .  In  the  second 
case,  figure  6,  the  cable  will  be  drawn  straight  with  a  jerk, 
must  sustain  the  whole  force  of  the  rising  ship,  and  must  either 
loosen  the  anchor,  resist  the  rising  force  of  the  ship,  or  break. 
But  why  does  it  break  at  the  hause-hole  ? 

Let  us  suppose  it  a  cable  of  three  inches  diameter,  and 
represented  by  figure  7.  If  this  cable  is  to  be  bent  round  the 
corner  A,  it  is  evident  that  either  the  part  of  the  triangle  con- 
tained between  the  letters  a,  6,  c,  must  stretch  considerably, 
and  those  most  that  are  nearest  the  surface ;  or  that  the  parts 
between  d,  e,  /,  must  be  compressed;  or  both,  which  most 
probably  happens.  In  this  case,  the  lower  half  of  the  thick- 
ness affords  no  strength  against  the  jerk,  it  not  being  strained, 
the  upper  half  bears  the  whole,  and  the  yarns  near  the  upper 
surface  being  first  and  most  strained,  break  first,  and  the  next 
yarns  follow ;  for  in  this  bent  situation  they  cannot  bear  the 
strain  all  together,  and  each  contribute  its  strength  to  the 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  379 

whole,  as  they  do  when  the  cable  is  strained  in  a  straight 
line. 

To  remedy  this,  methinks  it  would  be  well  to  have  a  kind 
of  large  pulley  wheel,  fixed  in  the  hause-hole,  suppose  of  two 
feet  diameter,  over  which  the  cable  might  pass;  and,  being 
there  bent  gradually  to  the  round  of  the  wheel,  would  thereby 
be  more  equally  strained,  and  better  able  to  bear  the  jerk, 
which  may  save  the  anchor,  and  by  that  means  in  the  course 
of  the  voyage  may  happen  to  save  the  ship. 

One  maritime  observation  more  shall  finish  this  letter. 
I  have  been  a  reader  of  newspapers  now  near  seventy  years, 
and  I  think  few  years  pass  without  an  account  of  some  vessel 
met  with  at  sea,  with  no  living  soul  on  board,  and  so  many 
feet  of  water  in  her  hold,  which  vessel  has  nevertheless  been 
saved  and  brought  into  port ;  and  when  not  met  with  at  sea, 
such  forsaken  vessels  have  often  come  ashore  on  some  coast. 
The  crews,  who  have  taken  to  their  boats  and  thus  abandoned 
such  vessels,  are  sometimes  met  with  and  taken  up  at  sea  by 
other  ships,  sometimes  reach  a  coast,  and  are  sometimes  never 
heard  of.  Those  that  give  an  account  of  quitting  their  vessels 
generally  say,  that  she  sprung  a  leak,  that  they  pumped  for 
some  time,  that  the  water  continued  to  rise  upon  them,  and 
that,  despairing  to  save  her,  they  had  quitted  her,  lest  they 
should  go  down  with  her.  It  seems  by  the  event  that  this 
fear  was  not  always  well  founded,  and  I  have  endeavoured 
to  guess  at  the  reason  of  the  people's  too  hasty  discourage- 
ment. 

When  a  vessel  springs  a  leak  near  her  bottom,  the  water 
enters  with  all  the  force  given  by  the  weight  of  the  column 
of  water  without,  which  force  is  in  proportion  to  the  difference 
of  level  between  the  water  without  and  that  within.  It  enters 


380       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

therefore  with  more  force  at  first  and  in  greater  quantity, 
than  it  can  afterwards  when  the  water  within  is  higher.  The 
bottom  of  the  vessel  too  is  narrower,  so  that  the  same  quan- 
tity of  water  coming  into  that  narrow  part,  rises  faster  than 
when  the  space  for  it  to  flow  in  is  larger.  This  helps  to 
terrify.  But,  as  the  quantity  entering  is  less  and  less  as  the 
surfaces  without  and  within  become  more  nearly  equal  in 
height,  the  pumps,  that  could  not  keep  the  water  from  rising 
at  first,  might  afterwards  be  able  to  prevent  its  rising  higher, 
and  the  people  might  have  remained  on  board  in  safety, 
without  hazarding  themselves  in  an  open  boat  on  the  wide 
ocean.  (Fig.  8.) 

Besides  the  greater  equality  in  the  height  of  the  two  sur- 
faces, there  may  sometimes  be  other  causes  that  retard  the 
farther  sinking  of  a  leaky  vessel.  The  rising  water  within 
may  arrive  at  quantities  of  light  wooden  work,  empty  chests, 
and  particularly  empty  water-casks,  which  if  fixed  so  as  not 
to  float  themselves  may  help  to  sustain  her.  Many  bodies 
which  compose  a  ship's  cargo  may  be  specifically  lighter  than 
water;  all  these  when  out  of  water  are  an  additional  weight 
to  that  of  the  ship,  and  she  is  in  proportion  pressed  deeper  into 
the  water;  but,  as  soon  as  these  bodies  are  immersed,  they 
weigh  no  longer  on  the  ship,  but  on  the  contrary,  if  fixed,  they 
help  to  support  her,  in  proportion  as  they  are  specifically 
lighter  than  the  water.  And  it  should  be  remembered,  that 
the  largest  body  of  a  ship  may  be  so  balanced  in  the  water, 
that  an  ounce  less  or  more  of  weight  may  leave  her  at  the  sur- 
face or  sink  her  to  the  bottom.  There  are  also  certain  heavy 
cargoes,  that,  when  the  water  gets  at  them,  are  continually 
dissolving,  and  thereby  lightening  the  vessel,  such  as  salt  and 
sugar.  And  as  to  water-casks,  mentioned  above,  since  the 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  381 

quantity  of  them  must  be  great  in  ships  of  war,  where  the 
number  of  men  consume  a  great  deal  of  water  every  day,  if  it 
had  been  made  a  constant  rule  to  bung  them  up  as  fast  as 
they  were  emptied,  and  to  dispose  the  empty  casks  in  proper 
situations,  I  am  persuaded  that  many  ships  which  have  been 
sunk  in  engagements,  or  have  gone  down  afterwards,  might 
with  the  unhappy  people  have  been  saved ;  as  well  as  many 
of  those  which  in  the  last  war  foundered,  and  were  never 
heard  of.  While  on  this  topic  of  sinking,  one  cannot  help 
recollecting  the  well-known  practice  of  the  Chinese,  to  divide 
the  hold  of  a  great  ship  into  a  number  of  separate  chambers 
by  partitions  tight  caulked  (of  which  you  gave  a  model  in  your 
boat  upon  the  Seine),  so  that,  if  a  leak  should  spring  in  one 
of  them,  the  others  are  not  affected  by  it;  and,  though  that 
chamber  should  fill  to  a  level  with  the  sea,  it  would  not  be 
sufficient  to  sink  the  vessel.  We  have  not  imitated  this  prac- 
tice. Some  little  disadvantage  it  might  occasion  in  the  stow- 
age, is  perhaps  one  reason,  though  that  I  think  might  be  more 
than  compensated  by  an  abatement  in  the  insurance  that 
would  be  reasonable,  and  by  a  higher  price  taken  of  passen- 
gers, who  would  rather  prefer  going  in  such  a  vessel.  But  our 
seafaring  people  are  brave,  despise  danger,  and  reject  such 
precautions  of  safety,  being  cowards  only  in  one  sense,  that 
of  Bearing  to  be  thought  ajraid. 

I  promised  to  finish  my  letter  with  the  last  observation, 
but  the  garrulity  of  the  old  man  has  got  hold  of  me,  and,  as  I 
may  never  have  another  occasion  of  writing  on  this  subject, 
I  think  I  may  as  well  now,  once  for  all,  empty  my  nautical 
budget,  and  give  you  all  the  thoughts  that  have  in  my 
various  long  voyages  occurred  to  me  relating  to  navigation. 
I  am  sure,  that  in  you  they  will  meet  with  a  candid  judge, 


382       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

who  will  excuse  my  mistakes  on  account  of  my  good  inten- 
tion. 

There  are  six  accidents,  that  may  occasion  the  loss  of  ships 
at  sea.  We  have  considered  one  of  them,  that  of  foundering 
by  a  leak.  The  other  five  are,  i.  Oversetting  by  sudden 
flaws  of  wind,  or  by  carrying  sail  beyond  the  bearing. 
2.  Fire  by  accident  or  carelessness.  3.  A  heavy  stroke  of 
lightning,  making  a  breach  in  the  ship,  or  firing  the  powder. 

4.  Meeting  and  shocking  with  other  ships  in  the  night. 

5.  Meeting  in  the  night  with  islands  of  ice. 

To  that  of  oversetting,  privateers  in  their  first  cruise  have, 
as  far  as  has  fallen  within  my  knowledge  or  information,  been 
more  subject  than  any  other  kind  of  vessels.  The  double 
desire  of  being  able  to  overtake  a  weaker  flying  enemy,  or 
to  escape  when  pursued  by  a  stronger,  has  induced  the 
owners  to  overmast  their  cruizers,  and  to  spread  too  much 
canvas ;  and  the  great  number  of  men,  many  of  them  not  sea- 
men, who,  being  upon  deck  when  a  ship  heels  suddenly,  are 
huddled  down  to  leeward,  and  increase  by  their  weight  the 
effect  of  the  wind.  This  therefore  should  be  more  attended 
to  and  guarded  against,  especially  as  the  advantage  of  lofty 
masts  is  problematical.  For  the  upper  sails  have  greater 
power  to  lay  a  vessel  more  on  her  side,  which  is  not  the  most 
advantageous  position  for  going  swiftly  through  the  water. 
And  hence  it  is,  that  vessels,  which  have  lost  their  lofty  masts, 
and  been  able  to  make  little  more  sail  afterwards  than  per- 
mitted the  ship  to  sail  upon  an  even  keel,  have  made  so  much 
way,  even  under  jury  masts,  as  to  surprise  the  mariners  them- 
selves. But  there  is,  besides,  something  in  the  modern  form 
of  our  ships,  that  seems  as  if  calculated  expressly  to  allow 
their  oversetting  more  easily.  The  sides  of  a  ship,  instead  of 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  383 

spreading  out  as  they  formerly  did  in  the  upper  works,  are 
of  late  years  turned  in,  so  as  to  make  the  body  nearly  round, 
and  more  resembling  a  cask.  I  do  not  know  what  the  ad- 
vantages of  this  construction  are,  except  that  such  ships  are 
not  easily  boarded.  To  me  it  seems  a  contrivance  to  have  less 
room  in  a  ship  at  nearly  the  same  expense.  For  it  is  evident, 
that  the  same  timber  and  plank  consumed  in  raising  the  sides 
from  a  to  ft,  and  from  d  to  c,  would  have  raised  them  from  a  to 
e,  and  from  d  to  /,  fig.  9.  In  this  form  all  the  spaces  between 
e,  a,  by  and  c,  d,  /,  would  have  been  gained,  the  deck  would 
have  been  larger,  the  men  would  have  had  more  room  to  act, 
and  not  have  stood  so  thick  in  the  way  of  the  enemy's  shot ; 
and  the  vessel,  the  more  she  was  laid  down  on  her  side,  the  more 
bearing  she  would  meet  with,  and  more  effectual  to  support 
her,  as  being  farther  from  the  centre.  Whereas,  in  the  pres- 
ent form,  her  ballast  makes  the  chief  part  of  her  bearing, 
without  which  she  would  turn  in  the  sea  almost  as  easily  as  a 
barrel.  More  ballast  by  this  means  becomes  necessary,  and 
that,  sinking  a  vessel  deeper  in  the  water,  occasions  more  re- 
sistance to  her  going  through  it.  The  Bermudian  sloops  still 
keep  with  advantage  to  the  old  spreading  form. 

The  islanders  in  the  great  Pacific  ocean,  though  they  have 
no  large  ships,  are  the  most  expert  boat-sailors  in  the  world, 
navigating  that  sea  safely  with  their  proas,  which  they  prevent 
oversetting  by  various  means.  Their  sailing  proas  for  this 
purpose  have  outriggers  generally  to  windward,  above  the 
water,  on  which,  one  or  more  men  are  placed,  to  move  occa- 
sionally further  from  or  nearer  to  the  vessel  as  the  wind 
freshens  or  slackens.  But  some  have  their  outriggers  to 
leeward,  which,  resting  on  the  water,  support  the  boat  so  as 
to  keep  her  upright  when  pressed  down  by  the  wind.  Their 


384       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

boats,  moved  by  oars  or  rather  by  paddles,  are,  for  long 
voyages,  fixed  two  together  by  cross  bars  of  wood  that  keep 
them  at  some  distance  from  each  other,  and  so  render  their 
oversetting  next  to  impossible.  How  far  this  may  be  prac- 
ticable in  larger  vessels,  we  have  not  yet  sufficient  experience. 
I  know  of  but  one  trial  made  in  Europe,  which  was  about  one 
hundred  years  since,  by  Sir  William  Petty.  He  built  a  double 
vessel,  to  serve  as  a  pacquet-boat  between  England  and  Ire- 
land. Her  model  still  exists  in  the  museum  of  the  Royal 
Society,  where  I  have  seen  it.  By  the  accounts  we  have  of 
her,  she  answered  well  the  purpose  of  her  construction,  mak- 
ing several  voyages ;  and,  though  wrecked  at  last  by  a  storm, 
the  misfortune  did  not  appear  owing  to  her  particular  con- 
struction, since  many  other  vessels  of  the  common  form  were 
wrecked  at  the  same  time.  The  advantage  of  such  a  vessel 
is,  that  she  needs  no  ballast,  therefore  swims  either  lighter 
or  will  carry  more  goods;  and  that  passengers  are  not  so 
much  incommoded  by  her  rolling;  to  which  may  be  added, 
that  if  she  is  to  defend  herself  by  her  cannon,  they  will  prob- 
ably have  more  effect,  being  kept  more  generally  in  a  horizontal 
position,  than  those  in  common  vessels.  I  think,  however, 
that  it  would  be  an  improvement  of  that  model,  to  make  the 
sides  which  are  opposed  to  each  other  perfectly  parallel, 
though  the  other  sides  are  formed  as  in  common,  thus, 
figure  10. 

The  building  of  a  double  ship  would  indeed  be  more  ex- 
pensive in  proportion  to  her  burthen ;  and  that  perhaps  is 
sufficient  to  discourage  the  method. 

The  accident  of  fire  is  generally  well  guarded  against  by  the 
prudent  captain's  strict  orders  against  smoking  between  decks, 
or  carrying  a  candle  there  out  of  a  lantern.  But  there  is  one 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  385 

dangerous  practice  which  frequent  terrible  accidents  have 
not  yet  been  sufficient  to  abolish ;  that  of  carrying  store  spirits 
to  sea  hi  casks.  Two  large  ships,  the  Seraphis  and  the  Duke 
oj  Athol,  one  an  East  Indiaman,  the  other  a  frigate,  have  been 
burnt  within  these  two  last  years,  and  many  lives  miserably 
destroyed,  by  drawing  spirits  out  of  a  cask  near  a  candle. 
It  is  high  time  to  make  it  a  general  rule,  that  all  the  ship's 
store  of  spirits  should  be  carried  in  bottles. 

The  misfortune  by  a  stroke  of  lightning  I  have  in  my  former 
writings  endeavoured  to  show  a  method  of  guarding  against, 
by  a  chain  and  pointed  rod,  extending,  when  run  up,  from 
above  the  top  of  the  mast  to  the  sea.  These  instruments  are 
now  made  and  sold  at  a  reasonable  price  by  Nairne  &*  Co. 
in  London,  and  there  are  several  instances  of  success  attend- 
ing the  use  of  them.  They  are  kept  in  a  box,  and  may  be  run 
up  and  fixed  in  about  five  minutes,  on  the  apparent  approach 
of  a  thunder-gust. 

Of  the  meeting  and  shocking  with  other  ships  in  the  night, 
I  have  known  two  instances  in  voyages  between  London  and 
America.  In  one,  both  ships  arrived,  though  much  damaged, 
each  reporting  their  belief  that  the  other  most  have  gone  to  the 
bottom.  In  the  other,  only  one  got  to  port;  the  other  was 
never  afterwards  heard  of.  These  instances  happened  many 
years  ago,  when  the  commerce  between  Europe  and  America 
was  not  a  tenth  part  of  what  it  is  at  present,  ships  of  course 
thinner  scattered,  and  the  chance  of  meeting  proportionably 
less.  It  has  long  been  the  practice  to  keep  a  look-out  before 
in  the  channel,  but  at  sea  it  has  been  neglected.  If  it  is  not  at 
present  thought  worth  while  to  take  that  precaution,  it  will 
in  time  become  of  more  consequence;  since  the  number  of 
ships  at  sea  is  continually  augmenting.  A  drum  frequently 

VOL.  IX  —  3C 


386       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

beat,  or  a  bell  rung  in  a  dark  night,  might  help  to  prevent  such 
accidents. 

Islands  of  ice  are  frequently  seen  off  the  banks  of  New- 
foundland by  ships  going  between  North  America  and  Europe. 
In  the  day  time  they  are  easily  avoided,  unless  in  a  very  thick 
fog.  I  remember  two  instances  of  ships  running  against  them 
in  the  night.  The  first  lost  her  bowsprit,  but  received  little 
other  damage.  The  other  struck  where  the  warmth  of  the 
sea  had  wasted  the  ice  next  to  it,  and  a  part  hung  over  above. 
This  perhaps  saved  her,  for  she  was  under  great  way;  but 
the  upper  part  of  the  cliff,  taking  her  foretopmast,  broke  the 
shock,  though  it  carried  away  the  mast.  She  disengaged  her- 
self with  some  difficulty,  and  got  safe  into  port ;  but  the  acci- 
dent shows  the  possibility  of  other  ships  being  wrecked  and 
sunk  by  striking  those  vast  masses  of  ice,  of  which  I  have  seen 
one  that  we  judged  to  be  seventy  feet  high  above  the  water, 
consequently  eight  times  as  much  under  water;  and  it  is 
another  reason  for  keeping  a  good  look-out  before,  though  far 
from  any  coast  that  may  threaten  danger. 

It  is  remarkable,  that  the  people  we  consider  as  savages, 
have  improved  the  art  of  sailing  and  rowing  boats  in  several 
points  beyond  what  we  can  pretend  to. 

We  have  no  sailing  boats  equal  to  the  flying  proas  of  the 
South  Seas,  no  rowing  or  paddling  boat  equal  to  that  of  the 
Greenlanders,  for  swiftness  and  safety.  The  birch  canoes  of 
the  North  American  Indians  have  also  some  advantageous 
properties.  They  are  so  light  that  two  men  may  carry  one  of 
them  over  land,  which  is  capable  of  carrying  a  dozen  upon  the 
water;  and  in  heeling  they  are  not  so  subject  to  take  in  water 
as  our  boats,  the  sides  of  which  are  lowest  in  the  middle  where 
it  is  most  likely  to  enter,  this  being  highest  in  that  part,  as  in 
figure  ii. 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  387 

The  Chinese  are  an  enlightened  people,  the  most  antiently 
civilized  of  any  existing,  and  their  arts  are  antient,  a  presump- 
tion in  their  favour ;  their  method  of  rowing  their  boats  differs 
from  ours,  the  oars  being  worked  either  two  a- stern,  as  we 
scull,  or  on  the  sides  with  the  same  kind  of  motion,  being  hung 
parallel  to  the  keel  on  a  rail,  and  always  acting  in  the  water, 
not  perpendicular  to  the  side,  as  ours  are,  nor  lifted  out  at 
every  stroke,  which  is  a  loss  of  time,  and  the  boat  in  the  inter- 
val loses  motion.  They  see  our  manner,  and  we  theirs,  but 
neither  are  disposed  to  learn  of  or  copy  the  other. 

To  the  several  means  of  moving  boats  mentioned  above, 
may  be  added  the  singular  one  lately  exhibited  at  Javelle, 
on  the  Seine  below  Paris,  where  a  clumsy  boat  was  moved 
across  that  river  in  three  minutes  by  rowing,  not  in  the  water, 
but  in  the  air,  that  is,  by  whirling  round  a  set  of  windmill 
vanes  fixed  to  a  horizontal  axis,  parallel  to  the  keel,  and  placed 
at  the  head  of  the  boat.  The  axis  was  bent  into  an  elbow  at 
the  end,  by  the  help  of  which  it  was  turned  by  one  man  at  a 
time.  I  saw  the  operation  at  a  distance.  The  four  vanes 
appeared  to  be  about  five  feet  long,  and  perhaps  two  and  a 
half  wide.  The  weather  was  calm.  The  labour  appeared 
to  be  great  for  one  man,  as  the  two  several  times  relieved  each 
other.  But  the  action  upon  the  air  by  the  oblique  surfaces 
of  the  vanes  must  have  been  considerable,  as  the  motion  of  the 
boat  appeared  tolerably  quick  going  and  returning;  and  she 
returned  to  the  same  place  from  whence  she  first  set  out,  not- 
withstanding the  current.  This  machine  is  since  applied  to 
the  moving  of  air-balloons:  An  instrument  similar  may  be 
contrived  to  move  a  boat  by  turning  under  water. 

Several  mechanical  projectors  have  at  different  times  pro- 
posed to  give  motion  to  boats,  and  even  to  ships,  by  means  of 


388        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

circular  rowing,  or  paddles  placed  on  the  circumference  of 
wheels  to  be  turned  constantly  on  each  side  of  the  vessel; 
but  this  method,  though  frequently  tried,  has  never  been  found 
so  effectual  as  to  encourage  a  continuance  of  the  practice. 
I  do  not  know  that  the  reason  has  hitherto  been  given.  Per- 
haps it  may  be  this,  that  great  part  of  the  force  employed  con- 
tributes little  to  the  motion.  For  instance,  (fig.  12)  of  the  four 
paddles  a,  b,  c,  d,  all  under  water,  and  turning  to  move  a  boat 
from  X  to  Y,  c  has  the  most  power,  b  nearly  though  not  quite 
as  much,  their  motion  being  nearly  horizontal ;  but  the  force 
employed  in  moving  #,  is  consumed  in  pressing  almost  down- 
right upon  the  water  till  it  comes  to  the  place  of  b ;  and  the 
force  employed  in  moving  d  is  consumed  in  lifting  the  water 
till  d  arrives  at  the  surface ;  by  which  means  much  of  the  la- 
bour is  lost.  It  is  true,  that  by  placing  the  wheels  higher  out 
of  the  water,  this  waste  labour  will  be  diminished  in  a  calm, 
but  where  a  sea  runs,  the  wheels  must  unavoidably  be  often 
dipped  deep  in  the  waves,  and  the  turning  of  them  thereby 
rendered  very  laborious  to  little  purpose. 

Among  the  various  means  of  giving  motion  to  a  boat,  that 
of  M.  Bernoulli  appears  one  of  the  most  singular,  which  was 
to  have  fixed  in  the  boat  a  tube  in  the  form  of  an  L,  the  upright 
part  to  have  a  funnel- kind  of  opening  at  top,  convenient  for 
filling  the  tube  with  water;  which,  descending  and  passing 
through  the  lower  horizontal  part,  and  issuing  in  the  middle 
of  the  stern,  but  under  the  surface  of  the  river,  should  push  the 
boat  forward.  There  is  no  doubt  that  the  force  of  the  de- 
scending water  would  have  a  considerable  effect,  greater  in 
proportion  to  the  height  from  which  it  descended ;  but  then  it 
is  to  be  considered,  that  every  bucket-full  pumped  or  dipped 
up  into  the  boat,  from  its  side  or  through  its  bottom,  must  have 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  389 

its  vis  inertia  overcome  so  as  to  receive  the  motion  of  the  boat, 
before  it  can  come  to  give  motion  by  its  descent ;  and  that  will 
be  a  deduction  from  the  moving  power.  To  remedy  this,  I 
would  propose  the  addition  of  another  such  L  pipe,  and  that 
they  should  stand  back  to  back  in  the  boat  thus,  figure  13; 
the  forward  one  being  worked  as  a  pump,  and  sucking  in  the 
water  at  the  head  of  the  boat,  would  draw  it  forward  while 
pushed  in  the  same  direction  by  the  force  at  the  stern.  And 
after  all  it  should  be  calculated  whether  the  labour  of  pumping 
would  be  less  than  that  of  rowing.  A  fire-engine  might  pos- 
sibly in  some  cases  be  applied  in  this  operation  with  advan- 
tage. 

Perhaps  this  labour  of  raising  water  might  be  spared,  and 
the  whole  force  of  a  man  applied  to  the  moving  of  a  boat  by 
the  use  of  air  instead  of  water.  Suppose  the  boat  constructed 
in  this  form,  figure  14.  A,  a  tube  round  or  square  of  two  feet 
diameter,  in  which  a  piston  may  move  up  and  down.  The 
piston  to  have  valves  in  it,  opening  inwards  to  admit  air  when 
the  piston  rises ;  and  shutting,  when  it  is  forced  down  by  means 
of  the  lever  B  turning  on  the  centre  C.  The  tube  to  have  a 
valve  Z>,  to  open  when  the  piston  is  forced  down,  and  let  the 
air  pass  out  at  £,  which  striking  forcibly  against  the  water 
abaft  must  push  the  boat  forward.  If  there  is  added  an  air- 
vessel  F  properly  valved  and  placed,  the  force  would  continue 
to  act  while  a  fresh  stroke  is  taken  with  the  lever.  The  boat- 
man might  stand  with  his  back  to  the  stern,  and  putting  his 
hands  behind  him,  work  the  motion  by  taking  hold  of  the 
cross  bar  at  By  while  another  should  steer ;  or,  if  he  had  two 
such  pumps,  one  on  each  side  of  the  stern,  with  a  lever  for 
each  hand,  he  might  steer  himself  by  working  occasionally 
more  or  harder  with  either  hand,  as  watermen  now  do  with 


390        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

a  pair  of  sculls.  There  is  no  position  in  which  the  body  of 
a  man  can  exert  more  strength  than  in  pulling  right  up- 
wards. 

To  obtain  more  swiftness,  greasing  the  bottom  of  a  vessel 
is  sometimes  used,  and  with  good  effect.  I  do  not  know 
that  any  writer  has  hitherto  attempted  to  explain  this.  At 
first  sight,  one  would  imagine,  that,  though  the  friction  of  a 
hard  body,  sliding  on  another  hard  body,  and  the  resistance 
occasioned  by  that  friction,  might  be  diminished  by  putting 
grease  between  them,  yet  that  a  body  sliding  on  a  fluid,  such 
as  water,  should  have  no  need  of,  nor  receive,  any  advantage 
from  such  greasing.  But  the  fact  is  not  disputed.  And  the 
reason  perhaps  may  be  this.  The  particles  of  water  have  a 
mutual  attraction,  called  the  attraction  of  adhesion.  Water 
also  adheres  to  wood,  and  to  many  other  substances,  but  not 
to  grease ;  on  the  contrary  they  have  a  mutual  repulsion,  so 
that  it  is  a  question  whether  when  oil  is  poured  on  water,  they 
ever  actually  touch  each  other ;  for  a  drop  of  oil  upon  water, 
instead  of  sticking  to  the  spot  where  it  falls,  as  it  would  if  it 
fell  on  a  looking-glass,  spreads  instantly  to  an  immense  dis- 
tance in  a  film  extremely  thin,  which  it  could  not  easily  do  if 
it  touched  and  rubbed  or  adhered  even  in  a  small  degree  to 
the  surface  of  the  water.  Now  the  adhesive  force  of  water 
to  itself,  and  to  other  substances,  may  be  estimated  from  the 
weight  of  it  necessary  to  separate  a  drop,  which  adheres, 
while  growing,  till  it  has  weight  enough  to  force  the  separation 
and  break  thedrop'off.  Let  us  suppose  the  drop  to  be  the  size 
of  a  pea ;-  then  there  will  be  as  many  of  these  adhesions  as 
there  are  drops  of  that  size  touching  the  bottom  of  a  vessel, 
and  these  must  be  broken  by  the  moving  power,  every  step 
of  her  motion  that  amounts  to  a  drop's  breadth ;  and  there 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  391 

being  no  such  adhesions  to  break  between  the  water  and  a 
greased  bottom,  may  occasion  the  difference. 

So  much  respecting  the  motion  of  vessels.  But  we  have 
sometimes  occasion  to  stop  their  motion;  and,  if  a  bottom 
is  near  enough,  we  can  cast  anchor.  Where  there  are  no 
soundings,  we  have  as  yet  no  means  to  prevent  driving  in  a 
storm,  but  by  lying-to,  which  still  permits  driving  at  the  rate 
of  about  two  miles  an  hour;  so  that  in  a  storm  continuing 
fifty  hours,  which  is  not  an  uncommon  case,  the  ship  may  drive 
one  hundred  miles  out  of  her  course ;  and  should  she  in  that 
distance  meet  with  a  lee  shore,  she  may  be  lost. 

To  prevent  this  driving  to  leeward  in  deep  water,  a  swim- 
ming anchor  is  wanting,  which  ought  to  have  these  proper- 
ties. 

1.  It  should  have  a  surface  so  large  as,  being  at  the  end  of 
a  hauser  in  the  water,  and  placed  perpendicularly,  should  hold 
so  much  of  it,  as  to  bring  the  ship's  head  to  the  wind,  in  which 
situation  the  wind  has  least  power  to  drive  her. 

2.  It  should  be  able  by  its  resistance  to  prevent  the  ship's 
receiving  way. 

3.  It  should  be  capable  of  being  situated  below  the  heave 
of  the  sea,  but  not  below  the  undertow. 

4.  It  should  not  take  up  much  room  in  the  ship. 

5.  It  should  be  easily  thrown  out,  and  put  into  its  proper 
situation. 

6.  It  should  be  easy  to  take  in  again,  and  stow  away. 

An  ingenious  old  mariner,  whom  I  formerly  knew,  proposed 
as  a  swimming  anchor  for  a  large  ship,  to  have  a  stem  of  wood 
twenty-five  feet  long  and  four  inches  square,  with  four  boards 
of  1 8, 1 6,  14,  and  12,  feet  long,  and  one  foot  wide,  the  boards 
to  have  their  substance  thickened  several  inches  in  the  middle 


392        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

by  additional  wood,  and  to  have  each  a  four  inch  square  hole 
through  its  middle,  to  permit  its  being  slipped  on  occasionally 
upon  the  stem,  and  at  right  angles  with  it ;  where,  all  being 
placed  and  fixed  at  four  feet  distance  from  each  other,  it 
would  have  the  appearance  of  the  old  mathematical  instru- 
ment called  a  forestall.  This  thrown  into  the  sea,  and  held 
by  a  hauser  veered  out  to  some  length,  he  conceived  would 
bring  a  vessel  up,  and  prevent  her  driving,  and  when  taken 
in  might  be  stowed  away  by  separating  the  boards  from  the 
stem;  Figure  15.  Probably  such  a  swimming  anchor  would 
have  some  good  effect ;  but  it  is  subject  to  this  objection,  that, 
lying  on  the  surface  of  the  sea,  it  is  liable  to  be  hove  forward 
by  every  wave,  and  thereby  give  so  much  leave  for  the  ship  to 
drive. 

Two  machines  for  this  purpose  have  occurred  to  me,  which, 
though  not  so  simple  as  the  above,  I  imagine  would  be  more 
effectual,  and  more  easily  manageable.  I  will  endeavour  to 
describe  them,  that  they  may  be  submitted  to  your  judgment, 
whether  either  would  be  serviceable ;  and,  if  they  would,  to 
which  we  should  give  the  preference. 

The  first  is  to  be  formed,  and  to  be  used  in  the  water  on 
almost  the  same  principles  with  those  of  a  paper  kite  used  in 
the  air.  Only,  as  the  paper  kite  rises  in  the  air,  this  is  to 
descend  in  the  water.  Its  dimensions  will  be  different  for 
ships  of  different  size. 

To  make  one  of  suppose  fifteen  feet  high ;  take  a  small  spar 
of  that  length  for  the  backbone,  A  B,  figure  16,  a  smaller  of 
half  that  length  C  D,  for  the  cross  piece.  Let  these  be  united 
by  a  bolt  at  £,  yet  so  as  that  by  turning  on  the  bolt  they  may 
be  laid  parallel  to  each  other.  Then  make  a  sail  of  strong  can- 
vas, in  the  shape  of  figure  17.  To  form  this,  without  waste  of 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATION'S  393 

sailcloth,  sew  together  pieces  of  the  proper  length,  and  for 
half  the  breadth,  as  in  figure  18,  then  cut  the  whole  in  the 
diagonal  lines,  a,  b,  c,  and  turn  the  piece  F  so  as  to  place  its 
broad  part  opposite  to  that  of  the  piece  G,  and  the  piece  H 
in  like  manner  opposite  to  /,  which  when  all  sewed  together 
will  appear  as  in  figure  17.  This  sail  is  to  be  extended  on  the 
cross  of  figure  16,  the  top  and  bottom  points  well  secured  to 
the  ends  of  the  long  spar ;  the  two  side  points,  d,  e,  fastened 
to  the  ends  of  two  cords,  which,  coming  from  the  angle  of  the 
loop  (which  must  be  similar  to  the  loop  of  a  kite),  pass  through 
two  rings  at  the  ends  of  the  short  spar,  so  as  that  on  pulling 
upon  the  loop  the  sail  will  be  drawn  to  its  extent.  The  whole 
may,  when  aboard,  be  furled  up,  as  in  figure  19,  having  a  rope 
from  its  broad  end,  to  which  is  tied  a  bag  of  ballast  for  keeping 
that  end  downwards  when  in  the  water,  and  at  the  other  end 
another  rope  with  an  empty  keg  at  its  end  to  float  on  the  sur- 
face; this  rope  long  enough  to  permit  the  kite's  descending 
into  the  undertow,  or  if  you  please  lower  into  still  water.  It 
should  be  held  by  a  hauser.  To  get  it  home  easily,  a  small 
loose  rope  may  be  veered  out  with  it,  fixed  to  the  keg.  Haul- 
ing on  that  rope  will  bring  the  kite  home  with  small  force, 
the  resistance  being  small,  as  it  will  then  come  endways. 

It  seems  probable  that  such  a  kite  at  the  end  of  a  long 
hauser  would  keep  a  ship  with  her  head  to  the  wind,  and, 
resisting  every  tug,  would  prevent  her  driving  so  fast  as  when 
her  side  is  exposed  to  it,  and  nothing  to  hold  her  back.  If 
only  half  the  driving  is  prevented,  so  as  that  she  moves  but 
fifty  miles  instead  of  the  hundred  during  a  storm,  it  may  be 
some  advantage,  both  in  holding  so  much  distance  as  is  saved, 
and  in  keeping  from  a  lee-shore.  If  single  canvas  should  not 
be  found  strong  enough  to  bear  the  tug  without  splitting, 


394       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN1  FRANKLIN    [1785 

it  may  be  doubled,  or  strengthened  by  a  netting  behind  it, 
represented  by  figure  20. 

The  other  machine  for  the  same  purpose  is  to  be  made  more 
in  the  form  of  an  umbrella,  as  represented  figure  21.  The 
stem  of  the  umbrella,  a  square  spar  of  proper  length,  with  four 
movable  arms,  of  which  two  are  represented  C,  C,  figure  22. 
These  arms  to  be  fixed  in  four  joint  cleats,  as  D,  D,  &c., 
one  on  each  side  of  the  spar,  but  so  as  that  the  four  arms  may 
open  by  turning  on  a  pin  in  the  joint.  When  open,  they  form 
a  cross,  on  which  a  four-square  canvas  sail  is  to  be  extended, 
its  corners  fastened  to  the  ends  of  the  four  arms.  Those  ends 
are  also  to  be  stayed  by  ropes  fastened  to  the  stem  or  spar, 
so  as  to  keep  them  short  of  being  at  right  angles  with  it ;  and 
to  the  end  of  one  of  the  arms  should  be  hung  the  small  bag  of 
ballast,  and  to  the  end  of  the  opposite  arm  the  empty  keg. 
This,  on  being  thrown  into  the  sea,  would  immediately  open ; 
and  when  it  had  performed  its  function,  and  the  storm  over, 
a  small  rope  from  its  other  end  being  pulled  on,  would  turn  it, 
close  it,  and  draw  it  easily  home  to  the  ship.  This  machine 
seems  more  simple  in  its  operation,  and  more  easily  manage- 
able than  the  first,  and  perhaps  may  be  as  effectual.1 

Vessels  are  sometimes  retarded,  and  sometimes  forwarded 
in  their  voyages,  by  currents  at  sea,  which  are  often  not  per- 
ceived. About  the  year  1769  or  70,  there  was  an  application 
made  by  the  Board  of  Customs  at  Boston,  to  the  Lords  of 
the  Treasury  in  London,  complaining  that  the  packets  be- 
tween Falmouth  and  New  York  were  generally  a  fortnight 


1  Captain  Truxtun,  on  board  whose  ship  this  was  written,  has  executed  this 
proposed  machine  ;  he  has  given  six  arms  to  the  umbrella,  they  are  joined  to 
the  stem  by  iron  hinges,  and  the  canvas  is  double.  He  has  taken  it  with  him 
to  China.  February,  1786.  —  F. 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  395 

longer  in  their  passages,  than  merchant  ships  from  London  to 
Rhode  Island,  and  proposing  that  for  the  future  they  should 
be  ordered  to  Rhode  Island  instead  of  New  York.  Being 
then  concerned  in  the  management  of  the  American  post- 
office,  I  happened  to  be  consulted  on  the  occasion;  and  it 
appearing  strange  to  me,  that  there  should  be  such  a  differ- 
ence between  two  places  scarce  a  day's  run  asunder,  especially 
when  the  merchant  ships  are  generally  deeper  laden,  and  more 
weakly  manned  than  the  packets,  and  had  from  London  the 
whole  length  of  the  river  and  channel  to  run  before  they  left 
the  land  of  England,  while  the  packets  had  only  to  go  from 
Falmouth,  I  could  not  but  think  the  fact  misunderstood  or 
misrepresented.  There  happened  then  to  be  in  London  a 
Nantucket  sea  captain  of  my  acquaintance,  to  whom  I  com- 
municated the  affair.  He  told  me  he  believed  the  fact  might 
be  true ;  but  the  difference  was  owing  to  this,  that  the  Rhode 
Island  captains  were  acquainted  with  the  Gulf  Stream, 
which  those  of  the  English  packets  were  not.  "We  are  well 
acquainted  with  that  stream,"  says  he,  "because  in  our  pur- 
suit of  whales,  which  keep  near  the  sides  of  it,  but  are  not  to 
be  met  with  in  it,  we  run  down  along  the  sides,  and  frequently 
cross  it  to  change  our  side ;  and  in  crossing  it  have  sometimes 
met  and  spoke  with  those  packets,  who  were  in  the  middle 
of  it,  and  stemming  it.  We  have  informed  them  that  they 
were  stemming  a  current,  that  was  against  them  to  the  value 
of  three  miles  an  hour;  and  advised  them  to  cross  it  and  get 
out  of  it ;  but  they  were  too  wise  to  be  counselled  by  simple 
American  fishermen.  When  the  winds  are  but  light,"  he 
added,  "they  are  carried  back  by  the  current  more  than  they 
are  forwarded  by  the  wind ;  and,  if  the  wind  be  good,  the 
subtraction  of  seventy  miles  a  day  from  their  course  is  of 


396      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

some  importance."  I  then  observed  it  was  a  pity  no  notice 
was  taken  of  this  current  upon  the  charts,  and  requested  him 
to  mark  it  out  for  me,  which  he  readily  complied  with,  adding 
directions  for  avoiding  it  in  sailing  from  Europe  to  North 
America.  I  procured  it  to  be  engraved  by  order  from  the 
general  post-office,  on  the  old  chart  of  the  Atlantic,  at  Mount 
and  Page's,  Tower  Hill ;  and  copies  were  sent  down  to  Fal- 
mouth  for  the  captains  of  the  packets,  who  slighted  it  how- 
ever; but  it  is  since  printed  in  France,  of  which  edition  I 
hereto  annex  a  copy.  [See  Plate  XIII.] 

This  stream  is  probably  generated  by  the  great  accumula- 
tion of  water  on  the  eastern  coast  of  America  between  the 
tropics,  by  the  trade  winds  which  constantly  blow  there.  It 
is  known,  that  a  large  piece  of  water  ten  miles  broad  and 
generally  only  three  feet  deep,  has  by  a  strong  wind  had  its 
waters  driven  to  one  side  and  sustained  so  as  to  become  six 
feet  deep,  while  the  windward  side  was  laid  dry.  This  may 
give  some  idea  of  the  quantity  heaped  up  on  the  American 
coast,  and  the  reason  of  its  running  down  in  a  strong  cur- 
rent through  the  islands  into  the  bay  of  Mexico,  and  from 
thence  issuing  through  the  Gulph  of  Florida,  and  proceeding 
along  the  coast  to  the  banks  of  Newfoundland,  where  it 
turns  off  towards  and  runs  down  through  the  Western  Islands. 
Having  since  crossed  this  stream  several  times  in  passing 
between  America  and  Europe,  I  have  been  attentive  to  sun- 
dry circumstances  relating  to  it,  by  which  to  know  when  one 
is  in  it ;  and  besides  the  gulf  weed  with  which  it  is  interspersed, 
I  find,  that  it  is  always  warmer  than  the  sea  on  each  side  of  it, 
and  that  it  does  not  sparkle  in  the  night.  I  annex  hereto  the 
observations  made  with  the  thermometer  in  two  voyages, 
and  possibly  may  add  a  third.  It  will  appear  from  them, 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  397 

that  the  thermometer  may  be  a  useful  instrument  to  a  navi- 
gator, since  currents  coming  from  the  northward  into  southern 
seas  will  probably  be  found  colder  than  the  water  of  those  seas, 
as  the  currents  from  southern  seas  into  northern  are  found 
warmer.  And  it  is  not  to  be  wondered,  that  so  vast  a  body 
of  deep  warm  water,  several  leagues  wide,  coming  from 
between  the  tropics  and  issuing  out  of  the  gulph  into  the 
northern  seas,  should  retain  its  warmth  longer  than  the 
twenty  or  thirty  days  required  to  its  passing  the  banks  of 
Newfoundland.  The  quantity  is  too  great,  and  it  is  too  deep 
to  be  suddenly  cooled  by  passing  under  a  cooler  air.  The 
air  immediately  over  it,  however,  may  receive  so  much  warmth 
from  it  as  to  be  rarefied  and  rise,  being  rendered  lighter  than 
the  air  on  each  side  of  the  stream;  hence  those  airs  must 
flow  in  to  supply  the  place  of  the  rising  warm  air,  and,  meet- 
ing with  each  other,  form  those  tornados  and  waterspouts 
frequently  met  with,  and  seen  near  and  over  the  stream ;  and 
as  the  vapour  from  a  cup  of  tea  in  a  warm  room,  and  the 
breath  of  an  animal  in  the  same  room,  are  hardly  visible, 
but  become  sensible  immediately  when  out  in  the  cold  air, 
so  the  vapour  from  the  gulph  stream,  in  warm  latitudes,  is 
scarcely  visible,  but  when  it  comes  into  the  cool  air  from  New- 
foundland, it  is  condensed  into  the  fogs,  for  which  those  parts 
are  so  remarkable. 

The  power  of  wind  to  raise  water  above  its  common  level  in 
the  sea  is  known  to  us  in  America,  by  the  high  tides  occa- 
sioned in  all  our  seaports  when  a  strong  northeaster  blows 
against  the  Gulf  Stream. 

The  conclusion  from  these  remarks  is,  that  a  vessel  from 
Europe  to  North  America  may  shorten  her  passage  by  avoid- 
ing to  stem  the  stream,  in  which  the  thermometer  will  be  very 


398        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

useful ;  and  a  vessel  from  America  to  Europe  may  do  the  same 
by  the  same  means  of  keeping  in  it.  It  may  have  often  hap- 
pened accidentally,  that  voyages  have  been  shortened  by  these 
circumstances.  It  is  well  to  have  the  command  of  them.1 

Would  it  not  be  a  more  secure  method  of  planking  ships, 
if,  instead  of  thick  single  planks  laid  horizontally,  we  were 
to  use  planks  of  half  the  thickness,  and  lay  them  double  and 
across  each  other,  as  in  figure  23  ?  To  me  it  seems  that  the 
difference  of  expense  would  not  be  considerable,  and  that  the 
ship  would  be  both  tighter  and  stronger. 

The  securing  of  the  ship  is  not  the  only  necessary  thing; 
securing  the  health  of  the  sailors,  a  brave  and  valuable  order 
of  men,  is  likewise  of  great  importance.  With  this  view  the 
methods  so  successfully  practised  by  Captain  Cook,  in  his 
long  voyages,  cannot  be  too  closely  studied  or  carefully  imi- 
tated. A  full  account  of  those  methods  is  found  in  Sir  John 
Pringle's  speech,  when  the  medal  of  the  Royal  Society  was 
given  to  that  illustrious  navigator.  I  am  glad  to  see  in  his  last 
voyage,  that  he  found  the  means  effectual,  which  I  had  pro- 
posed for  preserving  flour,  bread,  &c.,  from  moisture  and 
damage.  They  were  found  dry  and  good  after  being  at  sea 
four  years.  The  method  is  described  in  my  printed  works, 
page  452,  fifth  edition.  In  the  same,  page  469,  470,  is  pro- 
posed a  means  of  allaying  thirst  in  case  of  want  of  fresh  water. 
This  has  since  been  practised  in  two  instances  with  success. 
Happy  if  their  hunger,  when  the  other  provisions  are  con- 
sumed, could  be  relieved  as  commodiously ;  and  perhaps  in 
time  this  may  be  found  not  impossible.  An  addition  might 
be  made  to  their  present  vegetable  provision,  by  drying 

1  Here  a  paragraph  is  omitted.  It  relates  to  the  retarding  of  westward- 
bound  vessels,  by  the  diurnal  motion  of  the  earth.  See  Vol.  I,  p.  83.  —  ED. 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  399 

various  roots  in  slices  by  the  means  of  an  oven.  The  sweet 
potatoe  of  America  and  Spain  is  excellent  for  this  purpose. 
Other  potatoes,  with  carrots,  parsnips,  and  turnips,  might  be 
prepared  and  preserved  in  the  same  manner. 

With  regard  to  make-shifts  in  cases  of  necessity,  seamen 
are  generally  very  ingenious  themselves.  They  will  excuse, 
however,  the  mention  of  two  or  three.  If  they  happen  in  any 
circumstance,  such  as  after  shipwreck,  taking  to  their  boat, 
or  the  like,  to  want  a  compass,  a  fine  sewing  needle  laid  on 
clear  water  in  a  cup  will  generally  point  to  the  north,  most  of 
them  being  a  little  magnetical,  or  may  be  made  so  by  being 
strongly  rubbed  or  hammered,  lying  in  a  north  and  south 
direction.  If  their  needle  is  too  heavy  to  float  by  itself,  it 
may  be  supported  by  little  pieces  of  cork  or  wood.  A  man 
who  can  swim,  may  be  aided  in  a  long  traverse  by  his  handker- 
chief formed  into  a  kite,  by  two  cross  sticks  extending  to  the 
four  corners ;  which,  being  raised  in  the  air  when  the  wind  is 
fair  and  fresh,  will  tow  him  along  while  lying  on  his  back. 
Where  force  is  wanted  to  move  a  heavy  body,  and  there  are 
but  few  hands  and  no  machines,  a  long  and  strong  rope  may 
make  a  powerful  instrument.  Suppose  a  boat  is  to  be  drawn 
up  on  a  beach,  that  she  may  be  out  of  the  surf ;  a  stake  drove 
into  the  beach  where  you  would  have  the  boat  drawn,  and 
another  to  fasten  the  end  of  the  rope  to,  which  comes  from  the 
boat,  and  then  applying  what  force  you  have  to  pull  upon  the 
middle  of  the  rope  at  right  angles  with  it,  the  power  will  be 
augmented  in  proportion  to  the  length  of  rope  between  the 
posts.  The  rope  being  fastened  to  the  stake,  A,  and  drawn 
upon  in  the  direction,  C  D,  will  slide  over  the  stake  B ;  and 
when  the  rope  is  bent  to  the  angle,  A  D  B,  represented  by  the 
pricked  line  in  figure  24,  the  boat  will  be  at  B. 


400       THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

Some  sailors  may  think  the  writer  has  given  himself  un- 
necessary trouble  in  pretending  to  advise  them;  for  they 
have  a  little  repugnance  to  the  advice  of  landmen,  whom  they 
esteem  ignorant  and  incapable  of  giving  any  worth  notice ; 
though  it  is  certain  that  most  of  their  instruments  were  the 
invention  of  landmen.  At  least  the  first  vessel  ever  made  to 
go  on  the  water  was  certainly  such.  I  will  therefore  add  only 
a  few  words  more,  and  they  shall  be  addressed  to  passengers. 

When  you  intend  a  long  voyage,  you  may  do  well  to  keep 
your  intention  as  much  as  possible  a  secret,  or  at  least  the 
time  of  your  departure;  otherwise  you  will  be  continually 
interrupted  in  your  preparations  by  the  visits  of  friends  and 
acquaintance,who  will  not  only  rob  you  of  the  time  you  want, 
but  put  things  out  of  your  mind,  so  that  when  you  come  to  sea, 
you  have  the  mortification  to  recollect  points  of  business  that 
ought  to  have  been  done,  accounts  you  intended  to  settle, 
and  conveniences  you  had  proposed  to  bring  with  you,  &c. 
&c.,  all  which  have  been  omitted  through  the  effect  of  these 
officious  friendly  visits.  Would  it  not  be  well  if  this  custom 
could  be  changed ;  if  the  voyager,  after  having,  without  in- 
terruption, made  all  his  preparations,  should  use  some  of 
the  time  he  has  left,  in  going  himself  to  take  leave  of  his 
friends  at  their  own  houses,  and  let  them  come  to  congratulate 
him  on  his  happy  return? 

It  is  not  always  in  your  power  to  make  a  choice  in  your 
captain,  though  much  of  your  comfort  in  the  passage  may 
depend  on  his  personal  character,  as  you  must  for  so  long  a 
time  be  confined  to  his  company,  and  under  his  direction; 
if  he  be  a  sensible,  sociable,  good-natured,  obliging  man, 
you  will  be  so  much  the  happier.  Such  there  are ;  but,  if  he 
happens  to  be  otherwise,  and  is  only  skilful,  careful,  watch- 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  401 

ful,  and  active  in  the  conduct  of  his  ship,  excuse  the  rest,  for 
these  are  the  essentials. 

Whatever  right  you  may  have  by  agreement  in  the  mass 
of  stores  laid  in  by  him  for  the  passengers,  it  is  good  to  have 
some  particular  things  in  your  own  possession,  so  as  to  be 
always  at  your  own  command. 

i.  Good  water,  that  of  the  ship  being  often  bad.  You 
can  be  sure  of  having  it  good  only  by  bottling  it  from  a  clear 
spring  or  well,  and  in  clean  bottles.  2.  Good  tea.  3.  Cof- 
fee ground.  4.  Chocolate.  5.  Wine  of  the  sort  you 
particularly  like,  and  cider.  6.  Raisins.  7.  Almonds. 
8.  Sugar.  9.  Capillaire.  10.  Lemons,  u.  Jamaica  spirits. 
12.  Eggs,  greas'd.  13.  Diet  bread.  14.  Portable  soup. 
15.  Rusks.  As  to  fowls,  it  is  not  worth  while  to  have  any 
called  yours,  unless  you  could  have  the  feeding  and  managing 
of  them  according  to  your  own  judgment,  under  your  own  eye. 
As  they  are  generally  treated  at  present  in  ships,  they  are  for 
the  most  part  sick,  and  their  flesh  tough  and  hard  as  whit- 
leather.  All  seamen  have  an  opinion,  broached  I  suppose 
at  first  prudently,  for  saving  of  water  when  short,  that  fowls 
do  not  know  when  they  have  drunk  enough,  and  will  kill 
themselves  if  you  give  them  too  much,  so  they  are  served 
with  a  little  only  once  in  two  days.  This  is  poured  into 
troughs  that  lie  sloping,  and  therefore  immediately  runs 
down  to  the  lower  end.  There  the  fowls  ride  upon  one 
another's  backs  to  get  at  it,  and  'some  are  not  happy  enough 
to  reach  and  once  dip  their  bills  in  it.  Thus  tantalized,  and 
tormented  with  thirst,  they  cannot  digest  their  dry  food, 
they  fret,  pine,  sicken,  and  die.  Some  are  found  dead,  and 
thrown  overboard  every  morning,  and  those  killed  for  the 
table  are  not  eatable.  Their  troughs  should  be  in  little  divi- 

VOL.  IX  —  2  D 


402      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

sions,  like  cups,  to  hold  the  water  separately,  figure  25.  But 
this  is  never  done.  The  sheep  and  hogs  are  therefore  your 
best  dependence  for  fresh  meat  at  sea,  the  mutton  being 
generally  tolerable  and  the  pork  excellent. 

It  is  possible  your  captain  may  have  provided  so  well  in  the 
general  stores,  as  to  render  some  of  the  particulars  above 
recommended  of  little  or  no  use  to  you.  But  there  are  fre- 
quently in  the  ship  poorer  passengers,  who  are  taken  at  a 
lower  price,  lodge  in  the  steerage,  and  have  no  claim  to  any 
of  the  cabin  provisions,  or  to  any  but  those  kinds  that  are 
allowed  the  sailors.  These  people  are  sometimes  dejected, 
sometimes  sick;  there  may  be  women  and  children  among 
them.  In  a  situation  where  there  is  no  going  to  market 
to  purchase  such  necessaries,  a  few  of  these  your  superfluities, 
distributed  occasionally,  may  be  of  great  service,  restore 
health,  save  life,  make  the  miserable  happy,  and  thereby 
afford  you  infinite  pleasure. 

The  worst  thing  in  ordinary  merchant  ships  is  the  cookery. 
They  have  no  professed  cook,  and  the  worst  hand  as  a  sea- 
man is  appointed  to  that  office,  in  which  he  is  not  only  very 
ignorant  but  very  dirty.  The  sailors  have  therefore  a  saying, 
that  God  sends  meatj  and  the  Devil  cooks.  Passengers  more 
piously  disposed,  and  willing  to  believe  Heaven  orders  all 
things  fof^the  best,  may  suppose,  that,  knowing  the  sea  air 
and  constant  exercise  by  the  motion  of  the  vessel  would  give 
us  extraordinary  appetites,  bad  cooks  were  kindly  sent  to 
prevent  our  eating  too  much;  or  that,  foreseeing  we  should 
have  bad  cooks,  good  appetites  were  furnished  to  prevent  our 
starving.  If  you  cannot  trust  to  these  circumstances,  a  spirit- 
lamp,  with  a  blaze-pan,  may  enable  you  to  cook  some  little 
things  for  yourself;  such  as  a  hash,  a  soup,  &c.  And  it 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  403 

might  be  well  also  to  have  among  your  stores  some  potted 
meats,  which,  if  well  put  up,  will  keep  long  good.  A  small 
tin  oven,  to  place  with  the  open  side  before  the  fire,  may  be 
another  good  utensil,  in  which  your  own  servant  may  roast 
for  you  a  bit  of  pork  or  mutton.  You  will  sometimes  be  in- 
duced to  eat  of  the  ship's  salt  beef,  as  it  is  often  good.  You 
will  find  cyder  the  best  quencher  of  that  thirst,  which  salt 
meat  or  fish  occasions.  The  ship  biscuit  is  too  hard  for 
some  sets  of  teeth.  It  may  be  softened  by  toasting.  But 
rusk  is  better;  for  being  made  of  good  fermented  bread, 
sliced  and  baked  a  second  time,  the  pieces  imbibe  the  water 
easily,  soften  immediately,  digest  more  kindly,  and  are  there- 
fore more  wholesome  than  the  unfermented  biscuit.  By  the 
way,  rusk  is  the  true  original  biscuit,  so  prepared  to  keep  for 
sea,  biscuit  in  French  signifying  twice  baked.  If  your  dry 
peas  boil  hard,  a  two  pound  iron  shot  put  with  them  into  the 
pot  will,  by  the  motion  of  the  ship,  grind  them  as  fine  as  mus- 
tard. 

The  accidents  I  have  seen  at  sea  with  large  dishes  of  soup 
upon  a  table,  from  the  motion  of  the  ship,  have  made  me  wish 
that  our  potters  or  pewterers  would  make  soup  dishes  in 
divisions,  like  a  set  of  small  bowls  united  together,  each 
containing  about  sufficient  for  one  person,  in  some  such  form 
as  figure  26 ;  for  then,  when  the  ship  should  make  a  sudden 
heel,  the  soup  would  not  in  a  body  flow  over  one  side,  and  fall 
into  people's  laps  and  scald  them,  as  is  sometimes  the  case, 
but  would  be  retained  in  the  separate  divisions,  as  in  figure  27. 

After  these  trifles,  permit  the  addition  of  a  few  general 
reflections.  Navigation,  when  employed  in  supplying  neces- 
sary provisions  to  a  country  in  want,  and  thereby  preventing 
famines,  which  were  more  frequent  and  destructive  before  the 


404      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

invention  of  that  art,  is  undoubtedly  a  blessing  to  mankind. 
When  employed  merely  in  transporting  superfluities,  it  is  a 
question  whether  the  advantage  of  the  employment  it  affords 
is  equal  to  the  mischief  of  hazarding  so  many  lives  on  the 
ocean.  But  when  employed  in  pillaging  merchants  and 
transporting  slaves,  it  is  clearly  the  means  of  augmenting 
the  mass  of  human  misery.  It  is  amazing  to  think  of  the 
ships  and  lives  risked  in  fetching  tea  from  China,  coffee  from 
Arabia,  sugar  and  tobacco  from  America,  all  which  our 
ancestors  did  well  without.  Sugar  employs  near  one  thou- 
sand ships,  tobacco  almost  as  many.  For  the  utility  of 
tobacco  there  is  little  to  be  said ;  and  for  that  of  sugar,  how 
much  more  commendable  would  it  be,  if  we  could  give  up  the 
few  minutes'  gratification  afforded  once  or  twice  a  day  by 
the  taste  of  sugar  in  our  tea,  rather  than  encourage  the 
cruelties  exercised  in  producing  it.  An  eminent  French 
moralist  says,  that  when  he  considers  the  wars  we  excite  in 
Africa  to  obtain  slaves,  the  numbers  necessarily  slain  in  those 
wars,  the  many  prisoners  who  perish  at  sea  by  sickness,  bad 
provisions,  foul  air,  &c.  &c.,  in  the  transportation,  and  how 
many  afterwards  die  from  the  hardships  of  slavery,  he  can- 
not look  on  a  piece  of  sugar  without  conceiving  it  stained 
with  spots  of  human  blood !  Had  he  added  the  considera- 
tion of  the  wars  we  make  to  take  and  retake  the  sugar  islands 
from  one  another,  and  the  fleets  and  armies  that  perish  in 
those  expeditions,  he  might  have  seen  his  sugar  not  merely 
spotted,  but  thoroughly  dyed  scarlet  in  grain.  It  is  these 
wars,  that  make  the  maritime  powers  of  Europe,  the  inhabit- 
ants of  London  and  Paris,  pay  dearer  for  sugar  than  those 
of  Vienna,  a  thousand  miles  from  the  sea;  because  their 
sugar  costs  not  only  the  price  they  pay  for  it  by  the  pound, 


1785]  MARITIME  OBSERVATIONS  405 

but  all  they  pay  in  taxes  to  maintain  the  fleets  and  armies 
that  fight  for  it. 

With  great  esteem,  I  am,  Sir, 

Your  most  obedient  humble  servant, 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

APPENDIX   TO   THE   ABOVE   LETTER 

Remarks  upon  the  Navigation  jrom  Newfoundland  to  New 
York,  in  Order  to  avoid  the  Gulf  Stream  on  one  Hand,  and, 
on  the  other,  the  Shoals  that  lie  to  the  southward  of  Nan- 
tucket  and  of  St.  George's  Banks. 

READ   AT  A   MEETING   OF  THE  AMERICAN    PHILOSOPHICAL  SOCIETY,   DECEMBER 

*,  1785. 

AFTER  you  have  passed  the  banks  of  Newfoundland  in  about 
the  forty-fourth  degree  of  latitude,  you  will  meet  with  nothing, 
till  you  draw  near  the  Isle  of  Sables,  which  we  commonly 
pass  in  latitude  43°.  Southward  of  this  Isle,  the  current  is 
found  to  extend  itself  as  far  north  as  41°  20'  or  30',  then  it 
turns  towards  the  E.  S.  E.  or  S.  E.  \  E. 

Having  passed  the  Isle  of  Sables,  shape  your  course  for  the 
St.  George's  Banks,  so  as  to  pass  them  in  about  latitude  40°, 
because  the  current  southward  of  those  banks  reaches  as  far 
north  as  39°.  The  shoals  of  those  banks  lie  in  41°  35'. 

After  having  passed  St.  George's  Banks,  you  must,  to 
clear  Nantucket,  form  your  course  so  as  to  pass  between  the 
latitudes  38°  30'  and  40°  45'. 

The  most  southern  part  of  the  shoals  of  Nantucket  lie  in 
about  40°  45'.  The  northern  part  of  the  current  directly  to 
the  south  of  Nantucket  is  felt  in  about  latitude  38°  30'. 


406        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

By  observing  these  directions,  and  keeping  between  the 
stream  and  the  shoals,  the  passage  from  the  Banks  of  New- 
foundland to  New  York,  Delaware,  or  Virginia,  may  be  con- 
siderably shortened;  for  so  you  will  have  the  advantage  of 
the  eddy  current,  which  moves  contrary  to  the  Gulf  Stream. 
Whereas,  if  to  avoid  the  shoals  you  keep  too  far  to  the  south- 
ward, and  get  into  that  stream,  you  will  be  retarded  by  it  at 
the  rate  of  sixty  or  seventy  miles  a  day. 

The  Nantucket  whalemen  being  extremely  well  acquainted 
with  the  Gulf  Stream,  its  course,  strength,  and  extent,  by 
their  constant  practice  of  whaling  on  the  edges  of  it,  from 
their  island  quite  down  to  the  Bahamas,  this  draft  of  that 
stream  [Plate  XIII.]  was  obtained  from  one  of  them,  Captain 
Folger,  and  caused  to  be  engraved  on  the  old  chart  in  London, 
for  the  benefit  of  navigators,  by 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

NOTE.  The  Nantucket  captains,  who  are  acquainted  with 
this  stream,  make  their  voyages  from  England  to  Boston  in  as 
short  a  time  generally  as  others  take  in  going  from  Boston  to 
England,  viz.  from  twenty  to  thirty  days. 

A  stranger  may  know  when  he  is  in  the  Gulf  Stream,  by  the 
warmth  of  the  water,  which  is  much  greater  than  that  of  the 
water  on  each  side  of  it.  If  then  he  is  bound  to  the  westward, 
he  should  cross  the  stream  to  get  out  of  it  as  soon  as  possible. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 


Observations  of  the  Warmth  of  the  Sea  Water,  <5rV.,  by  Fahrenheit's  Ther- 
mometer, in  crossing  the  Gulph  Stream :  with  other  Remarks  made  on 
board  the  Pennsylvania  Packet,  Capt.  Osborne,  bound  from  London  to 
Philadelphia,  in  April  and  May,  1775. 


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Observations  of  the  Warmth  of  the  Sea  Water,  &V.,  by  Fahrenheit's  Ther- 
mometer ;  with  other  Remarks  made  on  board  the  Reprisal,  Captain  Wickes, 
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Observations  made  on  board  the  Reprisal,  continued. 


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A  Journal  of  a  Voyage  from  the  Channel  between  France  and  England 
towards  America  in  1 785. 


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A  Journal  of  a  Voyage,  <5rV.,  continued. 


412      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 


Observations 

July  31.    At  one  P.M.  the  Start  bore  W.  N.  W.  distant  six  leagues. 
August  I.     The  water  appears  luminous  in  the  ship's  wake. 

—  2.  The  temperature  of  the  water  is  taken  at  eight  in  the  morning  and  at 
eight  in  the  evening. 

—  6.   The  water  appears  less  luminous. 

—  7.   Formegas  S.  W.  distant  32^  degrees.    St.  Mary's  S.  W.  \  S.  33  leagues. 

—  8.    From  this  date  the  temperature  of  the  water  is  taken  at  eight  in  the 
morning  and  at  six  in  the  evening. 

—  10.   Moonlight,  which  prevents  the  luminous  appearance  of  the  water. 

—  ii.  A  strong  southerly  current. 

—  12.   Ditto.     From  this  date  the  temperature  of  the  air  and  water  was 
taken  at  noon,  as  well  as  morning  and  evening. 

—  1 6.   Northerly  current. 

—  19.   First  saw  gulf  weed. 

—  21.   Southerly  current. 

—  22.  Again  saw  gulf  weed. 

—  24.  The  water  appeared  luminous  in  a  small  degree  before  the  moon 
rose. 

—  29.  No  moon,  yet  very  little  light  in  the  water. 

—  30.   Much  gulf  weed  to-day. 

—  31.   Ditto. 
September  I.     Ditto. 

—  2.    A  little  more  light  in  the  water. 

—  4.  No  gulf  weed  to-day.     More  light  in  the  water. 

—  5.   Some  gulf  weed  again. 

—  6.    Little  light  in  the  water.    A  very  hard  thunder-gust  in  the  night. 

—  7.   Little  gulf  weed. 

—  8.   More  light  in  the  water.     Little  gulf  weed. 

—  9.   Little  gulf  weed.     Little  light  in  the  water  last  evening. 

—  10.    Saw  some  beds  of  rock- weed;  and  we  were  surprised  to  observe  the 
water  six  degrees  colder  by  the  thermometer  than  the  preceding  noon. 

This  day  (roth)  the  thermometer  still  kept  descending,  and  at  five  in  the 
morning  of  the  nth,  it  was  in  water  as  low  as  70,  when  we  struck  soundings. 
The  same  evening  the  pilot  came  on  board,  and  we  found  our  ship  about  five 
degrees  of  longitude  a-head  of  the  reckoning,  which  our  captain  accounted 
for  by  supposing  our  course  to  have  been  near  the  edge  of  the  Gulf  Stream, 
and  thus  an  eddy-current  always  in  our  favour.  By  the  distance  we  ran  from 
September  9th,  in  the  evening,  till  we  struck  soundings,  we  must  have  then 
been  at  the  western  edge  of  the  Gulf  Stream,  and  the  change  in  the  tempera- 
ture of  the  water  was  probably  owing  to  our  suddenly  passing  from  that  cur- 
rent into  the  waters  of  our  own  climate. 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      413 

On  the  1 4th  of  August  the  following  experiment  was  made.  The  weather 
being  perfectly  calm,  an  empty  bottle,  corked  very  tight,  was  sent  down  20 
fathoms,  and  it  was  drawn  up  still  empty.  It  was  then  sent  down  again  35 
fathoms,  when  the  weight  of  the  water  having  forced  in  the  cork,  it  was 
drawn  up  full;  the  water  it  contained  was  immediately  tried  by  the  thermom- 
eter, and  found  to  be  70,  which  was  six  degrees  colder  than  at  the  surface; 
the  lead  and  bottle  were  visible,  but  not  very  distinctly  so,  at  the  depth  of  12 
fathoms;  but,  when  only  7  fathoms  deep,  they  were  perfectly  seen  from  the 
ship.  This  experiment  was  thus  repeated  September  nth,  when  we  were  in 
soundings  of  1 8  fathoms.  A  keg  was  previously  prepared  with  a  valve  at 
each  end,  one  opening  inward,  the  other  outward;  this  was  sent  to  the  bottom 
in  expectation  that  by  the  valves  being  both  open  when  going  down,  and  both 
shut  when  coming  up,  it  would  keep  within  it  the  water  received  at  bottom. 
The  upper  valve  performed  its  office  well,  but  the  under  one  did  not  shut 
quite  close,  so  that  much  of  the  water  was  lost  in  hauling  it  up  the  ship's 
side.  As  the  water  in  the  keg's  passage  upwards  could  not  enter  at  the  top, 
it  was  concluded  that  what  water  remained  in  it  was  of  that  near  the  ground ; 
and,  on  trying  this  by  the  thermometer,  it  was  found  to  be  58,  which  was  12 
degrees  colder  than  at  the  surface. 

[This  last  Journal  was  obligingly  kept  for  me  by  Mr.  J.  Williams,  my 
fellow-passenger  in  the  London  Packet,  who  made  all  the  experiments  with 
great  exactness.] 


1598.    TO  JAN  INGENHOUSZ  l          (L.  L.) 

ON  THE  CAUSES  AND  CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS 

At  Sea,  August  28,  1785 
DEAR  FRIEND, 

In  one  of  your  Letters,  a  little  before  I  left  France,  you 
desire  me  to  give  you  in  Writing  my  Thoughts  upon  the  Con- 
struction and  Use  of  Chimneys,  a  Subject  you  had  sometimes 
heard  me  touch  upon  in  Conversation.  I  embrace  willingly 

1  This  letter,  which  has  been  published  in  a  separate  pamphlet,  both  in 
England  and  America,  first  appeared  in  the  Transactions  of  The  American 
Philosophical  Society,  Vol.  II,  p.  I  (1786),  in  which  it  was  read  October  2ist, 
1785.  — ED. 


4i4       THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

this  Leisure  afforded  by  my  present  Situation  to  comply  with 
your  Request,  as  it  will  not  only  show  my  Regard  to  the 
Desires  of  a  Friend,  but  may  at  the  same  time  be  of  some 
Utility  to  others ;  the  Doctrine  of  Chimneys  appearing  not  to 
be  as  yet  generally  well  understood,  and  Mistakes  respecting 
them  being  attended  with  constant  Inconvenience,  if  not 
remedied,  and  with  fruitless  Expence,  if  the  true  Remedies 
are  mistaken. 

Those  who  would  be  acquainted  with  this  Subject,  should 
begin  by  considering  on  what  Principle  Smoke  ascends  in  any 
Chimney.  At  first,  many  are  apt  to  think,  that  Smoke  is  in 
its  Nature  and  of  itself  specifically  lighter  than  Air,  and  rises  in 
it  for  the  same  reason  that  Cork  rises  in  Water.  These  see 
no  Cause  why  Smoke  should  not  rise  in  the  Chimney,  tho' 
the  Room  be  ever  so  close.  Others  think  there  is  a  Power  in 
Chimneys  to  draw  up  the  Smoke,  and  that  there  are  different 
forms  of  Chimneys,  which  afford  more  or  less  of  this  Power. 
These  amuse  themselves  with  searching  for  the  best  Form. 
The  equal  Dimensions  of  a  Funnel  in  its  whole  Length  is  not 
thought  Artificial  enough,  and  it  is  made,  for  fancied  Rea- 
sons, sometimes  tapering  and  narrowing  from  below  upwards, 
and  sometimes  the  contrary,  &c.  &c.  A  simple  Experiment 
or  two  may  serve  to  give  more  correct  Ideas.  Having  lit  a 
Pipe  of  Tobacco,  plunge  the  Stem  to  the  Bottom  of  a  De- 
canter half  fill'd  with  cold  Water ;  then  putting  a  Rag  over  the 
Bowl,  blow  thro'  it  and  make  the  Smoke  descend  in  the  Stem 
of  the  Pipe,  from  the  End  of  which  it  will  rise  in  Bubbles 
thro'  the  Water ;  and,  being  thus  cool'd,  will  not  afterwards 
rise  to  go  out  thro'  the  Neck  of  the  Decanter,  but  remain 
spreading  itself  and  resting  on  the  Surface  of  the  Water. 
This  shows  that  Smoke  is  really  heavier  than  Air,  and  that 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      415 

it  is  carried  upwards  only  when  attach'd  to,  or  acted  upon, 
by  Air  that  is  heated,  and  thereby  rarefied  and  rendered  spe- 
cifically lighter  than  the  Air  in  its  Neighbourhood. 

Smoke  being  rarely  seen  but  in  company  with  heated  Air, 
and  its  upward  Motion  being  visible,  tho'  that  of  the  rarefied 
air  that  drives  it  is  not  so,  has  naturally  given  rise  to  the 
Error. 

I  need  not  explain  to  you,  my  learned  Friend,  what  is  meant 
by  rarefied  Air ;  but  if  you  make  the  public  use  you  propose  of 
this  Letter,  it  may  fall  into  the  Hands  of  some  who  are  unac- 
quainted with  the  Term  and  with  the  Thing.  These  then 
may  be  told,  that  air  is  a  Fluid  which  has  Weight  as  well  as 
others,  tho'  about  800  times  lighter  than  Water.  That  Heat 
makes  the  Particles  of  Air  recede  from  each  other  and  take  up 
more  Space,  so  that  the  same  Weight  of  Air  heated  will  have 
more  Bulk,  than  equal  Weights  of  cold  Air  which  may  sur- 
round it,  and  in  that  Case  must  rise,  being  forc'd  upwards  by 
such  colder  and  heavier  Air,  which  presses  to  get  under  it  and 
take  its  Place.  That  Air  is  so  rarified  or  expanded  by  Heat 
may  be  proved  to  their  Comprehension  by  a  lank  blown 
Bladder,  which,  laid  before  a  Fire,  will  soon  swell,  grow  tight, 
and  burst. 

Another  Experiment  may  be,  to  take  a  glass  Tube  about 
an  Inch  in  diameter,  and  12  Inches  long,  open  at  both  Ends 
and  fixed  upright  on  Legs,  so  that  it  need  not  be  handled,  for 
the  Hands  might  warm  it.  At  the  End  of  a  Quill  fasten  5 
or  6  Inches  of  the  finest  light  filament  of  Silk,  so  that  it  may  be 
held  either  above  the  upper  End  of  the  Tube  or  under  the 
lower  End,  your  warm  Hand  being  at  a  distance  by  the  Length 
of  the  Quill.  (Plate  XIV.  Fig.  i.)  If  there  were  any  motion 
of  Air  thro'  the  Tube,  it  would  manifest  itself  by  its  Effect  on 


416       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

the  Silk;  but,  if  the  Tube  and  the  Air  in  it  are  of  the  same 
Temperature  with  the  surrounding  Air,  there  will  be  no  such 
Motion,  whatever  may  be  the  Form  of  the  Tube,  whether 
crooked  or  strait,  narrow  below  and  widening  upwards,  or 
the  contrary,  the  Air  in  it  will  be  quiescent.  Warm  the  Tube, 
and  you  will  find,  as  long  as  it  continues  warm,  a  constant 
Current  of  Air,  entring  below  and  passing  up  thro'  it,  till 
discharged  at  the  Top;  because  the  Warmth  of  the  Tube, 
being  communicated  to  the  Air  it  contains,  rarefies  that  Air 
and  makes  it  lighter  than  the  Air  without,  which  therefore 
presses  in  below,  forces  it  upwards,  and  follows  and  takes  its 
place,  and  is  rarefied  in  its  turn.  And  without  warming  the 
Tube,  if  you  hold  under  it  a  Knob  of  hot  Iron,  the  Air  thereby 
heated  will  rise  and  fill  the  Tube,  going  out  at  its  Top ;  and 
this  Motion  in  the  Tube  will  continue  as  long  as  the  Knob 
remains  hot,  because  the  Air  entring  the  Tube  below  is 
heated  and  rarefied  by  passing  near  and  over  that  Knob. 

That  this  Motion  is  produc'd  merely  by  the  Difference  of 
Specific  Gravity  between  the  Fluid  within  and  that  without  the 
Tube,  and  not  by  any  fancied  Form  of  the  Tube  itself,  may 
appear  by  plunging  it  into  Water  contain'd  hi  a  Glass  Jar 
a  foot  deep,  thro'  which  such  Motion  might  be  seen.  The 
Water  within  and  without  the  Tube  being  of  the  same  Spe- 
cific Gravity,  balance  each  other,  and  both  remain  at  rest. 
But  take  out  the  Tube,  stop  its  Bottom  with  a  Finger  and  fill  it 
with  Olive  Oil,  which  is  lighter  than  Water,  then  stopping 
the  Top,  place  it  as  before,  its  lower  End  under  Water,  its 
Top  a  very  little  above.  As  long  as  you  keep  the  Bottom 
stopt,  the  Fluids  remain  at  rest,  but  the  Moment  it  is  un- 
stopt,  the  heavier  enters  below,  forces  up  the  lighter,  and  takes 
its  Place.  And  the  Motion  then  ceases,  merely  because  the 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      417 

new  Fluid  cannot  be  successively  made  lighter,  as  Air  may  be 
by  a  warm  Tube. 

In  fact,  no  Form  of  the  Funnel  of  a  Chimney  has  any 
Share  in  its  Operation  or  Effect  respecting  Smoke,  except  its 
Height.  The  longer  the  Funnel,  if  erect,  the  greater  its 
Force  when  fill'd  with  heated  and  rarefied  Air,  to  draw  in  below 
and  drive  up  the  Smoke,  if  one  may,  in  compliance  with 
Custom,  use  the  Expression  draw,  when  in  fact  it  is  the  su- 
perior Weight  of  the  surrounding  Atmosphere  that  presses  to 
enter  the  Funnel  below,  and  so  drives  up  before  it  the  Smoke 
and  warm  Air  it  meets  with  in  its  Passage. 

I  have  been  the  more  particular  in  explaining  these  first 
Principles,  because,  for  want  of  clear  Ideas  respecting  them, 
much  fruitless  expence  has  been  occasion'd;  not  only  single 
Chimneys,  but,  in  some  Instances  within  my  Knowledge, 
whole  Stacks  having  been  pulled  down  and  rebuilt  with 
Funnels  of  different  Forms,  imagin'd  more  powerful  in  draw- 
ing Smoke;  but,  having  still  the  same  Height  and  the  same 
Opening  below,  have  perform'd  no  better  than  their  Prede- 
cessors. 

What  is  it  then  which  makes  a  Smoky  Chimney ;  that  is,  a 
Chimney  which,  instead  of  conveying  up  all  the  Smoke, 
discharges  a  Part  of  it  into  the  Room,  offending  the  Eyes  and 
damaging  the  Furniture? 

The  Causes  of  this  Effect,  which  have  fallen  under  my 
Observation,  amount  to  Nine,  differing  from  each  other,  and 
therefore  requiring  different  Remedies. 

i.  Smoky  Chimneys  in  a  new  House  are  such,  frequently, 
jrom  mere  Want  oj  Air.  The  Workmanship  of  the  Rooms 
being  all  good,  and  just  out  of  the  Workman's  Hand,  the 
Joints  of  the  Boards  of  the  Flooring,  and  of  the  Pannels  of 

VOL.    IX 2K 


41 8      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

Wainscoting  are  all  true  and  tight,  the  more  so  as  the  Walls, 
perhaps  not  yet  thoroughly  dry,  preserve  a  Dampness  in  the 
Air  of  the  Room,  which  keeps  the  Wood  work  swelled  and 
close.  xThe  Doors  and  the  Sashes  too,  being  work'd  with 
Truth,  shut  with  Exactness,  so  that  the  Room  is  as  tight  as 
a  SnuffBox,  no  Passage  being  left  open  for  Air  to  enter,  ex- 
cept the  Keyhole,  and  even  that  is  sometimes  covered  by  a 
little  dropping  Shutter.  Now  if  Smoke  cannot  rise  but  as 
connected  with  rarefied  Air,  and  a  Column  of  such  Air,  sup- 
pose it  filling  the  Funnel,  cannot  rise,  unless  other  Air  be 
admitted  to  supply  its  place ;  and  if,  therefore,  no  Current  of 
Air  enter  the  Opening  of  the  Chimney,  there  is  nothing  to 
prevent  the  Smoke  coming  out  into  the  Room.  If  the 
Motion  upwards  of  the  Air  in  a  Chimney,  that  is  freely  sup- 
ply'd,  be  observed  by  the  rising  of  the  Smoke  or  a  Feather 
in  it,  and  it  be  considered,  that,  in  the  Time  such  Feather 
takes  in  rising  from  the  Fire  to  the  Top  of  the  Chimney,  a 
Column  of  Air  equal  to  the  Content  of  the  Funnel  must  be 
discharged,  and  an  equal  Quantity  supply'd  from  the  Room 
below,  it  will  appear  absolutely  impossible  that  this  Opera- 
tion should  go  on  if  the  tight  Room  is  kept  shut;  for,  were 
there  any  Force  capable  of  drawing  constantly  so  much  Air 
out  of  it,  it  must  soon  be  exhausted  like  the  Receiver  of  an  Air 
pump,  and  no  Animal  could  live  in  it.  Those  therefore  who 
stop  every  Crevice  in  a  Room  to  prevent  the  admission  of 
fresh  Air,  and  yet  would  have  their  Chimney  carry  up  the 
Smoke,  require  Inconsistencies,  and  expect  Impossibilities. 
Yet,  under  this  Situation,  I  have  seen  the  Owner  of  a  new 
House,  in  Despair,  and  ready  to  sell  it  for  much  less  than  it 
cost,  conceiving  it  uninhabitable,  because  not  a  Chimney 
in  any  one  of  its  Rooms  would  carry  off  the  Smoke,  unless  a 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      419 

Door  or  Window  were  left  open.  Much  Expence  has  also  been 
made,  to  alter  and  amend  new  Chimneys  which  had  really 
no  Fault ;  in  one  House  particularly  that  I  knew,  of  a  Noble- 
man in  Westminster,  that  Expence  amounted  to  no  less  than 
£300,  after  his  House  had  been,  as  he  thought,  finish 'd  and 
all  Charges  paid.  And  after  all,  several  of  the  Alterations 
were  ineffectual,  for  want  of  understanding  the  true  Prin- 
ciples. 

Remedies.  When  you  find  on  Trial,  that  opening  the  Door 
or  a  Window  enables  the  Chimney  to  carry  up  all  the  Smoke, 
you  may  be  sure  that  want  of  Air  jrom  without  was  the  Cause 
of  its  Smoking.  I  say  jrom  without,  to  guard  you  against  a 
common  Mistake  of  those,  who  may  tell  you  the  Room  is 
large,  contains  abundance  of  Air,  sufficient  to  supply  any 
Chimney,  and  therefore  it  cannot  be  that  the  Chimney  wants 
Air.  These  Reasoners  are  ignorant,  that  the  largeness  of  a 
Room,  if  tight,  is  in  this  case  of  small  Importance,  since  it 
cannot  part  with  a  Chimney  full  of  its  Air  without  occasioning 
so  much  Vacuum ;  which  it  requires  a  great  Force  to  effect, 
and  could  not  be  borne,  if  effected. 

It  appearing  plainly,  then,  that  some  of  the  outward  Air 
must  be  admitted,  the  Question  will  be,  how  much  is  abso- 
lutely necessary;  for  you  would  avoid  admitting  more,  as 
being  contrary  to  one  of  your  Intentions  in  having  a  Fire, 
viz.  that  of  warming  your  Room.  To  discover  this  Quantity, 
shut  the  Door  gradually  while  a  middling  Fire  is  burning,  till 
you  find,  that,  before  it  is  quite  shut,  the  Smoke  begins  to 
come  out  into  the  Room,  then  open  it  a  little  till  you  perceive 
the  Smoke  comes  out  no  longer.  There  hold  the  Door,  and 
observe  the  Width  of  the  open  crevice  between  the  Edge  of 
the  Door  and  the  Rabbit  it  should  shut  into.  Suppose  the 


420       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

Distance  to  be  half  an  Inch,  and  the  Door  8  feet  high,  you  find 
thence  that  your  Room  requires  an  Entrance  for  Air  equal  in 
area  to  96  half  inches,  or  48  square  Inches,  or  a  Passage  of 
6  inches  by  8.  This  however  is  a  large  Supposition,  there 
being  few  Chimneys,  that,  having  a  moderate  Opening  and  a 
tolerable  Height  of  Funnel,  will  not  be  satisfied  with  such 
a  Crevice  of  \  of  an  inch ;  and  I  have  found  a  Square  of  6  by 
6,  or  36  square  Inches,  to  be  a  pretty  good  Medium,  that  will 
serve  for  most  Chimneys.  High  Funnels,  with  small  and  low 
Openings,  may  indeed  be  supply'd  thro'  a  less  Space,  because, 
for  Reasons  that  will  appear  hereafter,  the  Force  of  Levity, 
if  one  may  so  speak,  being  greater  in  such  Funnels,  the  cool 
Air  enters  the  Room  with  greater  Velocity,  and  consequently 
more  enters  in  the  same  time.  This  however  has  its  Limits, 
for  Experience  shows,  that  no  increased  Velocity,  so  occa- 
sion'd,  has  made  the  admission  of  Air  thro'  the  Keyhole 
equal  in  quantity  to  that  thro'  an  open  Door;  tho'  thro'  the 
Door  the  Current  moves  slowly,  and  thro'  the  Keyhole  with 
great  Rapidity. 

It  remains  then  to  be  considered  how  and  where  this  neces- 
sary Quantity  of  Air  from  without  is  to  be  admitted,  so  as  to 
be  least  inconvenient.  For,  if  at  the  Door,  left  so  much  open, 
the  Air  thence  proceeds  directly  to  the  Chimney,  and  in  its 
way  comes  cold  to  your  Back  and  Heels  as  you  sit  before  your 
Fire.  If  you  keep  the  Door  shut,  and  raise  a  little  the  Sash 
of  your  Window,  you  feel  the  same  Inconvenience.  Various 
have  been  the  Contrivances  to  avoid  this,  such  as  bringing  in 
fresh  Air  through  Pipes  in  the  Jambs  of  the  Chimney,  which, 
pointing  upwards,  should  blow  the  Smoke  up  the  Funnel; 
Opening  Passages  into  the  Funnel  above,  to  let  in  Air  for  the 
same  purpose.  But  these  produce  an  Effect  contrary  to 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      421 

that  intended ;  for,  as  it  is  the  constant  current  of  Air  passing 
from  the  room  thro*  the  Opening  oj  the  Chimney  into  the  Fun- 
nel, which  prevents  the  Smoke  coming  out  into  the  Room, 
if  you  supply  the  Funnel  by  other  Means  or  in  other  ways 
with  the  Air  it  wants,  and  especially  if  that  Air  be  cold,  you 
diminish  the  force  of  that  Current,  and  the  Smoke  in  its 
Efforts  to  enter  the  Room  finds  less  Resistance. 

The  wanted  Air  must  then  indispensably  be  admitted  into 
the  Room,  to  supply  what  goes  off  through  the  Opening  of 
the  Chimney.  M.  Gauger,1  a  very  ingenious  and  intelligent 
French  Writer  on  the  subject,  proposes  with  Judgment  to 
admit  it  above  the  Opening  of  the  Chimney;  and  to  prevent 
Inconvenience  from  its  Coldness,  he  directs  its  being  made 
to  pass  in  its  Entrance  thro'  winding  Cavities  made  behind 
the  Iron  Back  and  Sides  of  the  FirePlace,  and  under  the  Iron 
Hearth-Plate;  in  which  Cavities  it  will  be  warmed,  and 
even  heated,  so  as  to  contribute  much,  instead  of  cooling,  to 
the  Warming  of  the  Room.  This  Invention  is  excellent  in 
itself,  and  may  be  us'd  with  Advantage  in  building  new 
Houses;  because  the  Chimneys  may  then  be  so  disposed, 
as  to  admit  conveniently  the  cold  Air  to  enter  such  Passages ; 
but  in  Houses  built  without  such  Views,  the  Chimneys  are 
often  so  situated,  as  not  to  afford  that  Convenience,  without 
great  and  expensive  Alterations.  Easy  and  cheap  Methods, 
tho*  not  quite  so  perfect  in  themselves,  are  of  more  general 
Utility;  and  such  are  the  following. 

In  all  Rooms  where  there  is  a  Fire,  the  Body  of  Air  warmed 
and  rarefied  before  the  Chimney  is  continually  changing 
Place,  and  making  room  for  other  Air  that  is  to  be  warmed  in 
its  turn.  Part  of  it  enters  and  goes  up  the  Chimney,  and  the 

1  Nicolas  Gauger  (1680-1730),  French  physicist.  —  ED. 


422       THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

rest  rises  and  takes  place  near  the  Ceiling.  If  the  Room  be 
lofty,  that  warm  Air  remains  above  our  Heads  as  long  as  it 
continues  warm,  and  we  are  little  benefited  by  it,  because  it 
does  not  descend  till  it  is  cooler.  Few  can  imagine  the  Differ- 
ence of  Climate  between  the  upper  and  lower  Parts  of  such 
room,  who  have  not  tried  it  by  the  Thermometer,  or  by  going 
up  a  Ladder  till  their  Heads  are  near  the  Ceiling.  It  is  then 
among  this  warm  Air  that  the  wanted  Quantity  of  outward  Air 
is  best  admitted,  with  which  being  mix'd,  its  Coldness  is  abated 
and  its  Inconvenience  diminished  so  as  to  become  scarce 
observable.  This  may  be  easily  done,  by  drawing  down  about 
an  Inch  the  upper  Sash  of  a  Window ;  or,  if  not  moveable, 
by  cutting  such  a  Crevice  thro'  its  Frame ;  in  both  which 
Cases,  it  will  be  well  to  place  a  thin  Shelf  of  the  length,  to  con- 
ceal the  Opening,  and  sloping  upward  to  direct  the  entring 
Air  horizontally  along  and  under  the  Ceiling.  In  some 
houses  the  Air  may  be  admitted  by  such  a  Crevice  made  in 
the  Wainscot,  Cornish,  or  Plastering,  near  the  Ceiling  and 
over  the  Opening  of  the  Chimney.  This,  if  practicable,  is  to 
be  chosen,  because  the  ent'ring  cold  Air  will  there  meet  with 
the  warmest  rising  Air  from  before  the  Fire,  and  be  soonest 
tempered  by  the  Mixture.  The  same  kind  of  Shelf  should 
also  be  placed  here.  Another  way,  and  not  a  very  difficult 
one,  is  to  take  out  an  upper  Pane  of  Glass  in  one  of  your 
Sashes,  set  in  a  tin  Frame,  (Plate,  Fig.  2,)  giving  it  two 
springing  angular  Sides,  and  then  replacing  it,  with  Hinges 
below  on  which  it  may  be  turned  to  open  more  or  less  above. 
It  will  then  have  the  Appearance  of  an  internal  Skylight. 
By  drawing  this  Pane  in,  more  or  less,  you  may  admit  what 
Air  you  find  necessary.  Its  position  will  naturally  throw 
that  air  up  and  along  the  ceiling.  This  is  what  is  called  in 


1785]     CAUSES  AND  CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      423 

France  a  Was  ist  das  ?  As  this  is  a  German  Question,  the 
Invention  is  probably  of  that  Nation,  and  takes  its  Name 
from  the  frequent  asking  of  that  Question  when  it  first  ap- 
peared. In  England,  some  have  of  late  Years  cut  a  round 
Hole  about  5  Inches  Diameter  in  a  Pane  of  the  Sash,  and 
plac'd  against  it  a  circular  Plate  of  Tin  hung  on  an  Axis, 
and  cut  into  Vanes,  which,  being  separately  bent  a  little 
obliquely,  are  acted  upon  by  the  entring  Air,  so  as  to  force 
the  Plate  continually  round  like  the  Vanes  of  a  Windmill. 
This  admits  the  outward  Air,  and  by  the  continual  Whirling 
of  the  Vanes,  does  in  some  degree  disperse  it.  The  Noise, 
only,  is  a  little  inconvenient. 

2.  A  second  cause  of  the  Smoking  of  Chimneys  is,  their 
Openings  in  the  Room  being  too  large;  that  is,  too  wide,  too 
high,  or  both.  Architects  in  general  have  no  other  Ideas  of 
Proportion  in  the  Opening  of  a  Chimney,  than  what  relate 
to  Symmetry  and  Beauty,  respecting  the  Dimensions  of  the 
Room;  while  its  true  Proportion,  respecting  its  Function 
and  Utility,  depends  on  quite  other  Principles;  and  they 
might  as  properly  proportion  the  Step  in  a  Staircase  to  the 
Height  of  the  Story,  instead  of  the  natural  Elevation  of  Men's 
Legs  in  mounting.  The  Proportion  then  to  be  regarded,  is 
what  relates  to  the  Height  of  the  Funnel.  For  as  the  Funnels 
in  the  different  Stories  of  a  House  are  necessarily  of  different 
Heights  or  Lengths,  that  from  the  lowest  Floor  being  the 
highest  or  longest,  and  those  of  the  other  Floors  shorter  and 
shorter,  till  we  come  to  those  in  the  Garrets,  which  are  of 
course  the  shortest;  and  the  Force  of  Draft  being,  as  already 
said,  in  proportion  to  the  height  of  Funnel  filled  with  rarefied 
Air;  and  a  Current  of  Air  from  the  Room  into  the  Chimney, 
sufficient  to  fill  the  Opening,  being  necessary  to  oppose  and 


424      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

prevent  the  Smoke's  coming  out  into  the  Room;  it  follows, 
that  the  Openings  of  the  longest  Funnels  may  be  larger,  and 
that  those  of  the  shorter  Funnels  should  be  smaller.  For, 
if  there  be  a  large  Opening  to  a  Chimney  that  does  not  draw 
strongly,  the  Funnel  may  happen  to  be  furnish'd  with  the 
Air  it  demands  by  a  Partial  current  entring  on  one  side  of 
the  Opening,  and,  leaving  the  other  side  free  of  any  Opposing 
Current,  may  permit  the  Smoke  to  issue  there  into  the  Room. 
Much  too,  of  the  Force  of  Draft  in  a  Funnel  depends  on  the 
degree  of  Rarefaction  in  the  Air  it  contains,  and  that  depends 
on  the  nearness  to  the  Fire  of  its  Passage  in  entring  the  Funnel. 
If  it  can  enter  far  from  the  Fire  on  each  side,  or  far  above  the 
Fire,  in  a  wide  or  high  Opening,  it  receives  little  heat  in  pass- 
ing by  the  Fire,  and  the  Contents  of  the  Funnel  is  by  that 
means  less  different  in  Levity  from  the  surrounding  Atmos- 
phere, and  its  Force  in  drawing  consequently  weaker.  Hence, 
if  too  large  an  Opening  be  given  to  Chimneys  in  upper  Rooms, 
those  Rooms  will  be  smoky;  on  the  other  Hand,  if  too  small 
Openings  be  given  to  Chimneys  in  the  lower  Rooms,  the  en- 
tring air,  operating  too  directly  and  violently  on  the  Fire, 
and  afterwards  strengthening  the  Draft  as  it  ascends  the 
Funnel,  will  consume  the  Fuel  too  rapidly. 

Remedy.  As  different  Circumstances  frequently  mix  them- 
selves in  these  Matters,  it  is  difficult  to  give  precise  Dimen- 
sions for  the  Openings  of  all  Chimneys.  Our  Fathers  made 
them  generally  much  too  large;  We  have  lessen'd  them ;  but 
they  are  often  still  of  greater  Dimension  than  they  should  be, 
the  human  Eye  not  being  easily  reconciPd  to  sudden  and 
great  Changes.  If  you  suspect  that  your  Chimney  smokes 
from  the  too  great  Dimension  of  its  Opening,  contract  it  by 
placing  Boards  so  as  to  lower  and  narrow  it  gradually,  till 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      425 

you  find  the  Smoke  no  longer  issues  into  the  Room.  The 
Proportion  so  found  will  be  that  which  is  proper  for  that 
Chimney,  and  you  may  employ  the  Bricklayer  or  Mason  to 
reduce  it  accordingly.  However,  as,  in  building  new  Housesf 
something  must  be  sometimes  hazarded,  I  would  make  the 
Openings  in  my  lower  Rooms  about  30  Inches  square  and  18 
deep,  and  those  in  the  upper  only  18  Inches  square  and  not 
quite  so  deep;  the  intermediate  ones  diminishing  in  propor- 
tion as  the  Height  of  Funnel  diminish'd.  In  the  larger  Open- 
ings, Billets  of  two  feet  long,  or  half  the  common  length  of 
Cordwood,  may  be  burnt  conveniently ;  and  for  the  smaller, 
such  Wood  may  be  saw'd  into  Thirds.  Where  Coals  are 
the  Fuel,  the  Grates  will  be  proportion'd  to  the  Openings. 
The  same  Depth  is  nearly  necessary  to  all,  the  Funnels  being 
all  made  of  a  Size  proper  to  admit  a  Chimney-sweeper.  If 
in  large  and  elegant  Rooms  Custom  or  Fancy  should  require 
the  Appearance  of  a  larger  Chimney,  it  may  be  form'd  of 
expensive  marginal  Decorations,  in  Marble,  &c.  In  time, 
perhaps,  that  which  is  fittest  in  the  nature  of  things  may  come 
to  be  thought  handsomest.  But  at  present  when  Men  and 
Women  in  different  Countries  show  themselves  dissatisfied 
with  the  Forms  God  has  given  to  their  Heads,  Waists,  and 
Feet,  and  pretend  to  shape  them  more  perfectly,  it  is  hardly 
to  be  expected  that  they  will  be  content  always  with  the  best 
Form  of  a  Chimney.  And  there  are  some,  I  know,  so  bigotted 
to  the  Fancy  of  a  large  noble  Opening,  that  rather  than  change 
it,  they  would  submit  to  have  damaged  Furniture,  sore  Eyes, 
and  Skins  almost  smok'd  to  Bacon. 

3.  Another  cause  of  smoky  Chimneys  is  too  short  a  Funnel. 
This  happens  necessarily  in  some  Cases,  as  where  a  Chimney 
is  required  hi  a  low  Building;  for  if  the  Funnel  be  rais'd 


426      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

high  above  the  Roof,  in  order  to  strengthen  its  Draft,  it  is 
then  in  danger  of  being  blown  down,  and  crushing  the  Roof 
in  its  Fall. 

Remedies.  Contract  the  Opening  of  the  Chimney,  so  as 
to  oblige  all  the  entring  Air  to  pass  thro'  or  very  near  the  Fire ; 
whereby  it  will  be  more  heated  and  rarefied,  the  Funnel 
itself  be  more  warmed,  and  its  Contents  have  more  of  what 
may  be  called  the  Force  of  Levity,  so  as  to  rise  strongly,  and 
maintain  a  good  Draft  at  the  Opening. 

Or  you  may  in  some  cases  to  Advantage,  build  additional 
Stories  over  the  low  Building,  which  will  support  a  high 
Funnel. 

If  the  low  Building  be  us'd  as  a  Kitchen,  and  a  Contraction 
of  the  Opening  therefore  inconvenient,  a  large  one  being  neces- 
sary, at  least  when  there  are  great  Dinners,  for  the  free  Man- 
agement of  so  many  Cooking  Utensils ;  in  such  Case  I  would 
advise  the  Building  of  two  more  Funnels  joining  to  the  first, 
and  having  three  moderate  Openings,  one  to  each  Funnel, 
instead  of  one  large  one.  When  there  is  occasion  to  use  but 
one,  the  other  two  may  be  kept  shut  by  sliding  Plates,  here- 
after to  be  describ'd;  and  two  or  all  of  them  may  be  used 
together  when  wanted.  This  will  indeed  be  an  Expence, 
but  not  a  useless  one,  since  your  Cooks  will  work  with  more 
comfort,  see  better  than  in  a  smoky  Kitchen  what  they  are 
about,  your  Victuals  will  be  cleaner  drest,  and  not  taste  of 
Smoke,  as  is  often  the  Case ;  and,  to  render  the  Effect  more 
certain,  a  Stack  of  three  Funnels  may  be  safely  built  higher 
above  the  Roof  than  a  single  Funnel. 

The  Case  of  too  short  a  Funnel  is  more  general  than  would 
be  imagin'd,  and  often  found  where  one  would  not  expect  it. 
For  it  is  not  uncommon,  in  ill  contriv'd  Buildings,  instead 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      427 

of  having  a  Funnel  for  each  Room  or  Fireplace,  to  bend  and 
turn  the  Funnel  of  an  upper  Room  so  as  to  make  it  enter  the 
Side  of  another  Funnel  that  comes  from  below.  By  this 
means  the  upper  room  Funnel  is  made  short  of  course,  since 
its  Length  can  only  be  reckon'd  from  the  Place  where  it  enters 
the  lower-room  Funnel;  and  that  Funnel  is  also  shorten'd 
by  all  the  Distance  between  the  Entrance  of  the  second  Funnel 
and  the  Top  of  the  Stack :  For  all  that  Part  being  readily 
supply'd  with  Air  thro'  the  second  Funnel,  adds  no  Strength 
to  the  Draft,  especially  as  that  Air  is  cold  when  there  is  no 
Fire  in  the  second  Chimney.  The  only  easy  Remedy  here 
is,  to  keep  the  Opening  shut  of  that  Funnel  in  which  there 
is  no  Fire. 

4.  Another  very  common  Cause  of  the  Smoking  of  Chim- 
neys is  their  overpowering  one  another.  For  instance,  if 
there  be  two  Chimneys  in  one  large  Room,  and  you  make 
Fires  in  both  of  them,  the  Doors  and  Windows  close  shut, 
you  will  find  that  the  greater  and  stronger  Fire  shall  over- 
power the  weaker,  and  draw  air  down  its  Funnel  to  supply 
its  own  Demand ;  which  Air  descending  in  the  weaker  Fun- 
nel, will  drive  down  its  Smoke,  and  force  it  into  the  Room. 
If,  instead  of  being  in  one  Room,  the  two  Chimneys  are  in 
two  different  Rooms,  communicating  by  a  Door,  the  Case 
is  the  same  whenever  that  Door  is  open.  In  a  very  tight 
House,  I  have  known  a  Kitchen  Chimney  on  the  lowest 
Floor,  when  it  had  a  great  Fire  in  it,  overpower  any  other 
Chimney  in  the  House,  and  draw  Air  and  Smoke  into  its 
Room,  as  often  as  the  Door  was  open'd  communicating  with 
the  StairCase. 

Remedy.  Take  Care  that  every  Room  has  the  Means  of 
supplying  itself  from  without,  with  the  Air  its  Chimney  may 


428      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

require  so  that  no  one  of  them  may  be  obliged  to  borrow 
from  another,  nor  under  the  Necessity  of  lending.  A  Vari- 
ety of  these  Means  have  been  already  describ'd. 

5.  Another  Cause  of  Smoking  is,  when  the  Tops  of  Chim- 
neys are  commanded  by  higher  Buildings,  or  by  a  Hill,  so  that 
the  Wind  blowing  over  such  Eminences,  falls  like  Water 
over  a  Dam,  sometimes  almost  perpendicularly  on  the  Tops 
of  the  Chimneys  that  lie  in  its  way,  and  beats  down  the  Smoke 
contain'd  in  them. 

Remedy.  That  commonly  apply'd  to  this  Case  is  a  Turn- 
cap  made  of  Tin  or  Plate  Iron,  covering  the  Chimney  above 
and  on  three  sides,  open  on  one  side,  turning  on  a  Spindle, 
and  which  being  guided  or  governed  by  a  Vane,  always  pre- 
sents its  back  to  the  Current.  This  I  believe,  may  be  gen- 
erally effectual,  tho'  not  certain,  as  there  may  be  Cases  in 
which  it  will  not  succeed.  Raising  your  Funnels,  if  practi- 
cable, so  as  their  Tops  may  be  higher,  or  at  least  equal  with 
the  commanding  Eminence,  is  more  to  be  depended  on. 
But  the  turning  Cap,  being  easier  and  cheaper,  should  first 
be  try'd.  If  obliged  to  build  in  such  a  Situation,  I  would 
chuse  to  place  my  Doors  on  the  Side  next  the  Hill,  and  the 
Backs  of  my  Chimneys  on  the  furthest  Side ;  for  then  the 
Column  of  Air  falling  over  the  Eminence,  and  of  course 
pressing  on  that  below  and  forcing  it  to-  enter  the  Doors, 
or  Was-ist-dases  on  that  Side,  would  tend  to  ballance  the 
Pressure  down  the  Chimneys,  and  leave  the  Funnels  more 
free  in  the  Exercise  of  their  Functions. 

6.  There  is  another  Case  of  Command,  the  Reverse  of  that 
last  mentioned.    It  is  where  the  commanding  Eminence  is 
farther  from  the  Wind  than  the  Chimney  commanded.     To 
explain  this  a  Figure  may  be  necessary.    Suppose  then  a 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      429 

building  whose  Side  A  happens  to  be  expos'd  to  the  Wind,  and 
forms  a  kind  of  Dam  against  its  Progress.  (Plate,  Fig.  3.) 
The  Air  obstructed  by  this  Dam,  will,  like  Water,  press 
and  search  for  Passages  thro'  it;  and  finding  the  Top  of  the 
Chimney  B,  below  the  Top  of  the  Dam,  it  will  force  itself 
down  that  Funnel,  in  order  to  get  through  by  some  Door  or 
Window  open  on  the  other  Side  of  the  Building.  And  if 
there  be  a  Fire  in  such  Chimney,  its  Smoke  is  of  course  beat 
down,  and  fills  the  Room. 

Remedy.  I  know  of  but  one,  which  is  to  raise  such  funnel 
Higher  than  the  Roof,  supporting  it  if  necessary  by  iron  Bars. 
For  a  Turncap  in  this  Case  has  no  Effect,  the  damm'd-up-air 
pressing  down  thro'  it  in  whatever  Position  the  Wind  may 
have  plac'd  its  Opening. 

I  know  a  City  in  which  many  Houses  are  render'd  smoky 
by  this  Operation.  For  their  Kitchens  being  built  behind, 
and  connected  by  a  Passage  with  the  Houses,  and  the  Tops 
of  the  Kitchen  Chimneys  lower  than  the  Top  of  the  Houses, 
the  whole  Side  of  a  Street,  when  the  Wind  blows  against  its 
back,  forms  such  a  Dam  as  above  describ'd ;  and  the  Wind 
so  obstructed,  forces  down  those  Kitchen  Chimneys  espe- 
cially when  they  have  but  weak  Fires  in  them  to  pass  thro' 
the  Passage  and  House  into  the  Street.  Kitchen  Chimneys, 
so  form'd  and  situated,  have  another  Inconvenience.  In 
Summer,  if  you  open  your  Upper  Room  Windows  for  Air, 
a  light  Breeze  blowing  over  your  Kitchen  Chimney  towards 
the  House,  tho'  not  strong  enough  to  force  down  its  Smoke, 
as  aforesaid,  is  sufficient  to  waft  it  into  your  Windows,  and 
fill  the  Rooms  with  it;  which,  besides  the  Disagreableness, 
damages  your  Furniture. 

7.  Chimneys,    otherwise    drawing    well,    are    sometimes 


43o       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

made  to  smoke  by  the  improper  and  inconvenient  Situation 
of  a  Door.  When  the  Door  and  Chimney  are  on  the  same 
Side  of  the  Room,  as  in  the  Figure,  if  the  Door  A,  being  in 
the  Corner,  is  made  to  open  against  the  Wall,  (Plate,  Fig.  4,) 
which  is  common,  as  being  there,  when  open,  more  out  of 
the  Way,  it  follows,  that,  when  the  Door  is  only  open'd  in 
Part,  a  Current  of  Air  rushing  in,  passes  along  the  Wall  into 
and  across  the  Opening  of  the  Chimney  B,  and  flirts  some  of 
the  Smoke  out  into  the  Room.  This  happens  more  certainly 
when  the  Door  is  shutting,  for  then  the  Force  of  the  Current 
is  augmented,  and  becomes  very  inconvenient  to  those  who, 
warming  themselves  by  the  Fire,  happen  to  sit  in  its  way. 

The  remedies  are  obvious  and  easy.  Either  put  an  inter- 
vening Skreen  from  the  Wall  round  great  part  of  the  Fire- 
Place ;  or,  which  is  perhaps  preferable,  shift  the  Hinges  of 
your  Door,  so  as  it  may  open  the  other  way,  and,  when  open, 
throw  the  Air  along  the  other  Wall. 

8.  A  Room,  that  has  no  Fire  in  its  Chimney,  is  sometimes 
filled  with  Smoke,  which  is  received  at  the  Top  of  its  Funnel, 
and  descends  into  the  Room.  In  a  former  paper  I  have  al- 
ready explained  the  descending  Currents  of  Air  in  cold 
Funnels ;  it  may  not  be  amiss,  however,  to  repeat  here,  that 
Funnels  without  Fires  have  an  Effect,  according  to  their 
degree  of  Coldness  or  Warmth,  on  the  Air  that  happens 
to  be  contain'd  in  them.  The  surrounding  Atmosphere  is 
frequently  changing  its  Temperature ;  but  Stacks  of  Funnels, 
cover'd  from  Winds  and  Sun  by  the  House  that  contains 
them,  retain  a  more  equal  Temperature.  If  after  a  warm 
Season,  the  outward  Air  suddenly  grows  cold,  the  empty 
warm  Funnels  begin  to  draw  strongly  upward ;  that  is,  they 
rarefy  the  Air  contain'd  in  them,  which  of  course  rises,  cooler 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      431 

Air  enters  below  to  supply  its  place,  is  rarefied  in  its  turn, 
and  rises;  and  this  Operation  continues  till  the  Funnel 
grows  cooler,  or  the  outward  Air  warmer,  or  both,  when  the 
Motion  ceases.  On  the  other  Hand,  if  after  a  cold  Season, 
the  outward  Air  suddenly  grows  warm  and  of  course  lighter, 
the  Air  contain'd  in  the  cool  Funnels,  being  heavier,  descends 
into  the  Room ;  and  the  warmer  Air  which  enters  their  Tops, 
being  cool'd  in  its  turn  and  made  heavier,  continues  to  descend ; 
and  this  Operation  goes  on,  till  the  Funnels  are  warmed  by 
the  Passing  of  warm  Air  thro'  them,  or  the  Air  itself  grows 
cooler.  When  the  Temperature  of  the  Air  and  of  the  Funnels 
is  nearly  equal,  the  difference  of  Warmth  in  the  Air  between 
Day  and  Night  is  sufficient  to  produce  these  Currents,  the 
Air  will  begin  to  ascend  the  Funnels  as  the  Cool  of  the  Evening 
comes  on,  and  this  Current  will  continue  till  perhaps  9  or  10 
o'clock  the  next  Morning,  when  it  begins  to  hesitate;  and 
as  the  heat  of  the  Day  approaches,  it  sets  downwards,  and 
continues  so  till  towards  Evening,  when  it  again  hesitates 
for  some  time,  and  then  goes  upwards  constantly  during 
the  Night,  as  before  mentioned.  Now  when  Smoke  issuing 
from  the  Tops  of  neighbouring  Funnels  passes  over  the  Tops 
of  Funnels,  which  are  at  the  Time  drawing  downwards,  as 
they  often  are  in  the  Middle  part  of  the  Day,  such  Smoke 
is  of  necessity  drawn  into  these  Funnels,  and  descends  with 
the  Air  into  the  Chamber. 

The  remedy  is  to  have  a  Sliding  Plate,  hereafter  describ'd, 
that  will  shut  perfectly  the  offending  Funnel. 

9.  Chimneys,  which  generally  draw  well,  do  nevertheless 
sometimes  give  Smoke  into  the  Rooms,  it  being  driven  down 
by  strong  Winds  passing  over  the  Tops  oj  their  Funnels,  tho* 
not  descending  from  any  commanding  Eminence.  This  Case 


432       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

is  most  frequent  where  the  Funnel  is  short,  and  the  Opening 
turn'd  from  the  Wind.  It  is  the  more  grievous,  when  it 
happens  to  be  a  cold  Wind  that  produces  the  Effect,  because 
when  you  most  want  your  Fire,  you  are  sometimes  oblig'd 
to  extinguish  it.  To  understand  this,  it  may  be  consider'd 
that  the  rising  light  Air,  to  obtain  a  free  Issue  from  the  Funnel, 
must  push  out  of  its  Way  or  oblige  the  Air  that  is  over  it  to 
rise.  In  a  time  of  Calm  or  of  little  Wind  this  is  done  visibly, 
for  we  see  the  Smoke  that  is  brought  up  by  that  Air  rise  in  a 
Column  above  the  Chimney.  But  when  a  violent  Current 
of  Air,  that  is,  a  strong  Wind,  passes  over  the  Top  of  a  Chim- 
ney, its  Particles  have  received  so  much  Force,  which  keeps 
them  in  a  horizontal  Direction,  and  follow  each  other  so 
rapidly,  that  the  rising  light  Air  has  not  Strength  sufficient 
to  oblige  them  to  quit  that  Direction  and  move  upwards  to 
permit  its  Issue.  Add  to  this,  that  some  of  the  Current  pass- 
ing over  that  Side  of  the  Funnel  which  it  first  meets  with, 
viz.  at  Ay  (Plate,  Fig.  5,)  having  been  compress'd  by  the 
Resistance  of  the  Funnel,  may  expand  itself  over  the  Flue, 
and  strike  the  interior  opposite  Side  at  By  from  whence  it 
may  be  reflected  downwards  and  from  Side  to  Side  in  the 
Direction  of  the  prickt  Line  c  c  c. 

Remedies.  In  some  Places,  particularly  in  Venice,  where 
they  have  not  Stacks  of  Chimneys  but  single  Flues,  the  Cus- 
tom is,  to  open  or  widen  the  Top  of  the  Flue,  rounding  in 
the  true  Form  of  a  Funnel ;  (Plate,  Fig.  6 ;)  which  some  think 
may  prevent  the  Effect  just  mentioned,  for  that  the  Wind 
blowing  over  one  of  the  Edges  into  the  Funnel,  may  be  slanted 
out  again  on  the  other  Side  by  its  Form.  I  have  had  no 
Experience  of  this;  but  I  have  lived  in  a  Windy  Country, 
where  the  contrary  is  practised,  the  Tops  of  the  Flues  being 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS     433 

narrow'd  inwards,  so  as  to  form  a  Slit  for  the  Issue  of  the 
Smoke,  long  as  the  Breadth  of  the  Funnel,  and  only  4  Inches 
wide.  This  seems  to  have  been  contriv'd  on  a  Supposition, 
that  the  Entry  of  the  Wind  would  thereby  be  obstructed; 
and  perhaps  it  might  have  been  imagined,  that  the  whole 
Force  of  the  rising  warm  Air  being  condensed,  as  it  were,  in 
the  narrow  Opening,  would  thereby  be  strengthen'd,  so  as 
to  overcome  the  Resistance  of  the  Wind.  This  however  did 
not  always  succeed ;  for  when  the  Wind  was  at  NorthEast, 
and  blew  fresh,  the  Smoke  was  forc'd  down  by  Fits  into  the 
Room  I  commonly  sat  in,  so  as  to  oblige  me  to  shift  the  Fire 
into  another.  The  Position  of  the  Slit  of  this  Funnel  was 
indeed  N.  E*  and  S.  W*.  Perhaps  if  it  had  lain  across  the 
Wind,  the  Effect  might  have  been  different.  But  on  this  I 
can  give  no  Certainty.  It  seems  a  matter  proper  to  be  re- 
ferr'd  to  Experiment.  Possibly  a  Turncap  might  have  been 
serviceable,  but  it  was  not  tried. 

Chimneys  have  not  been  long  in  Use  in  England.  I  re- 
member to  have  formerly  read  in  some  very  old  book,  which 
remark'd  the  then  modern  Improvements  of  living,  and  men- 
tioned, among  others,  the  Convenience  of  Chimneys.  "Our 
ForeFathers,"  said  the  Author,  "had  no  Chimneys.  There 
was  in  each  DwellingHouse  only  one  Place  for  a  Fire,  and  the 
Smoke  went  out  thro*  a  Hole  in  the  Roof;  but  now  there  is 
scarce  a  Gentleman's  House  in  England  that  has  not  at 
least  one  Chimney  in  it."  When  there  was  but  one  Chim- 
ney, its  Top  might  then  be  open'd  as  a  Funnel,  and  perhaps, 
borrowing  the  Form  from  the  Venetians,  it  was  then  the  Flue 
of  a  Chimney  got  that  name.  Such  is  now  the  Growth  of 
Luxury,  that  in  both  England  and  France  we  must  have 
a  Chimney  for  every  Room,  and  in  some  Houses  every 

VOL.  IX  —  2  F 


434       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

Possessor  of  a  Chamber,  and  almost  every  Servant,  will  have 
a  Fire ;  so  that  the  Flues  being  necessarily  built  in  Stacks,  the 
opening  of  each  as  a  Funnel  is  impracticable.  This  Change 
of  Manners  soon  consumed  the  Firewood  of  England,  and 
will  soon  render  Fuel  extreamly  scarce  and  dear  in  France, 
if  the  Use  of  Coals  be  not  introduced  in  that  latter  kingdom 
as  it  has  been  in  the  former,  where  it  at  first  met  with  Opposi- 
tion; for  there  is  extant  in  the  Records  of  one  of  Queen 
Elizabeth's  Parliaments,  a  Motion  made  by  a  Member, 
reciting,  "That  many  Dyers,  Brewers,  Smiths,  and  other 
Artificers  of  London,  had  of  late  taken  to  the  Use  of  Pitcoal 
for  their  Fires,  instead  of  Wood,  which  fill'd  the  Air  with 
noxious  Vapours  and  Smoke,  very  prejudicial  to  the  Health, 
particularly  of  Persons  coming  out  of  the  Country;"  and 
therefore  moving,  "that  a  Law  might  pass  to  prohibit  the 
Use  of  such  Fuel  (at  least  during  the  Session  of  Parliament) 
by  those  Artificers."  It  seems  it  was  not  then  commonly 
us'd  in  private  Houses.  Its  suppos'd  Unwholesomeness  was 
an  Objection.  Luckily  the  Inhabitants  of  London  have  got 
over  that  Objection,  and  now  think  it  rather  contributes  to 
render  their  Air  salubrious,  as  they  have  had  no  general  pes- 
tilential Disorder  since  the  general  Use  of  Coals,  when,  be- 
fore it,  such  were  frequent.  Paris  still  burns  Wood  at  an 
enormous  Expence  continually  augmenting,  the  Inhabitants 
having  still  that  Prejudice  to  overcome.  In  Germany,  you 
are  happy  in  the  Use  of  Stoves,  which  save  Fuel  wonderfully : 
Your  People  are  very  ingenious  in  the  Management  of  Fire ; 
but  they  may  still  learn  something  in  that  Art  from  the 
Chinese,  whose  Country  being  greatly  populous  and  fully 
cultivated,  has  little  room  left  for  the  growth  of  Wood,  and, 
having  not  much  other  Fuel  that  is  good,  they  have  been  f orc'd 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      435 

upon  many  Inventions,  during  a  Course  of  Ages,  for  making 
a  little  Fire  go  as  far  as  possible. 

I  have  thus  gone  thro'  all  the  common  Causes  of  the  Smok- 
ing of  Chimneys,  that  I  can  at  present  recollect  as  having 
fallen  under  my  Observation ;  communicating  the  Remedies 
that  I  have  known  successfully  used  for  the  different  Cases, 
together  with  the  Principles  on  which  both  the  Disease  and 
the  Remedy  depend,  and  confessing  my  Ignorance  wherever 
I  have  been  sensible  of  it.  You  will  do  well,  if  you  publish, 
as  you  propose,  this  Letter,  to  add  in  Notes,  or  as  you  please, 
such  Observations  as  may  have  occurr'd  to  your  attentive 
Mind ;  and,  if  other  Philosophers  will  do  the  same,  this  Part 
of  Science,  tho'  humble,  yet  of  great  Utility,  may  in  time  be 
perfected.  For  many  Years  past,  I  have  rarely  met  with  a 
Case  of  a  Smoky  Chimney,  which  has  not  been  solvable  on  these 
Principles,  and  cur'd  by  these  Remedies,  where  People  have 
been  willing  to  apply  them ;  which  is  indeed  not  always  the 
Case ;  for  many  have  Prejudices  in  favour  of  the  Nostrums 
of  pretending  Chimney  Doctors  and  Fumists,  and  some  have 
Conceits  and  Fancies  of  their  own,  which  they  rather  chuse 
to  try,  than  to  lengthen  a  Funnel,  alter  the  Size  of  an  Open- 
ing, or  admit  Air  into  a  Room,  however  necessary ;  for  some 
are  as  much  afraid  of  fresh  Air  as  persons  in  the  Hydrophobia 
are  of  fresh  Water.  I  myself  had  formerly  this  Prejudice, 
this  Aerophobia,  as  I  now  account  it ;  and,  dreading  the  sup- 
pos'd  dangerous  Effects  of  cool  Air,  I  considered  it  as  an 
Enemy,  and  clos'd  with  extreme  care  every  Crevice  in  the 
Rooms  I  inhabited. 

Experience  has  convinced  me  of  my  Error.  I  now  look 
upon  fresh  Air  as  a  Friend ;  I  even  sleep  with  an  open  Win- 
dow. I  am  persuaded,  that  no  common  Air  from  without 


436       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

is  so  unwholesome,  as  the  Air  within  a  close  Room,  that 
has  been  often  breath'd  and  not  changed.  Moist  Air,  too, 
which  formerly  I  thought  pernicious,  gives  me  now  no  Appre- 
hensions ;  for,  considering  that  no  Dampness  of  Air  apply 'd 
to  the  Outside  of  my  Skin  can  be  equal  to  what  is  apply 'd 
to  and  touches  it  within,  my  whole  Body  being  full  of  Moisture, 
and  finding  that  I  can  lie  two  hours  in  a  Bath  twice  a  Week, 
cover'd  with  Water,  which  certainly  is  much  damper  than 
any  Air  can  be,  and  this  for  Years  together,  without  catch- 
ing Cold,  or  being  in  any  other  manner  disordered  by  it,  I 
no  longer  dread  mere  Moisture,  either  in  Air  or  in  Sheets  or 
Shirts :  And  I  find  it  of  Importance  to  the  Happiness  of  Life, 
the  being  freed  from  vain  Terrors,  especially  of  objects  that 
we  are  every  day  expos'd  inevitably  to  meet  with.  You 
Physicians  have  of  late  happily  disco ver'd,  after  a  contrary 
Opinion  had  prevaiPd  some  Ages,  that  fresh  and  cool  Air  does 
good  to  Persons  in  the  SmallPox  and  other  Fevers.  It  is  to 
be  hop'd,  that  in  another  Century  or  two  we  may  all  find  out, 
that  it  is  not  bad  even  for  People  in  Health.  And  as  to 
moist  Air,  here  I  am  at  this  present  Writing  in  a  Ship  with 
above  40  Persons,  who  have  had  no  other  but  moist  Air  to 
breathe  for  6  Weeks  past ;  every  thing  we  touch  is  damp, 
and  nothing  dries,  yet  we  are  all  as  healthy  as  we  should  be 
on  the  Mountains  of  Switzerland,  whose  Inhabitants  are  not 
more  so  than  those  of  Bermuda  or  St.  Helena,  Islands  on 
whose  Rocks  the  Waves  are  dash'd  into  Millions  of  Particles, 
which  fill  the  Air  with  Damp,  but  produce  no  Diseases,  the 
Moisture  being  pure,  unmix'd  with  the  poisonous  Vapours 
arising  from  putrid  Marshes  and  stagnant  Pools,  in  which 
many  Insects  die  and  corrupt  the  Water.  These  Places 
only,  in  my  Opinion  (which  however  I  submit  to  yours,) 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      437 

afford  unwholsome  Air;  and  that  it  is  not  the  mere  Water 
contained  in  damp  Air,  but  the  volatile  Particles  of  corrupted 
animal  Matter  mix'd  with  that  Water,  which  renders  such 
Air  pernicious  to  those  who  breathe  it.  And  I  imagine  it 
a  Cause  of  the  same  kind  that  renders  the  Air  in  close  Rooms, 
where  the  perspirable  Matter  is  breath'd  over  and  over  again 
by  a  number  of  assembled  People,  so  hurtful  to  Health. 
After  being  in  such  a  Situation,  many  find  themselves  affected 
by  that  Febricula,  which  the  English  alone  call  a  Cold,  and, 
perhaps  from  the  Name,  imagine  that  they  caught  the  malady 
by  going  out  of  the  Room,  when  it  was  in  fact  by  being  in  it. 

You  begin  to  think,  that  I  wander  from  my  Subject,  and 
go  out  of  my  Depth.  So  I  return  again  to  my  Chimneys. 

We  have  of  late  many  Lecturers  in  Experimental  Philosophy. 
I  have  wish'd  that  some  of  them  would  study  this  Branch  of 
that  Science,  and  give  Experiments  in  it  as  a  Part  of  their 
Lectures.  The  addition  to  their  present  Apparatus  need 
not  be  very  expensive.  A  number  of  little  Representations 
of  Rooms  compos'd  each  of  5  Panes  of  Sash  Glass,  fram'd 
in  Wood  at  the  Corners,  with  proportionable  Doors,  and 
moveable  Glass  Chimneys,  with  Openings  of  different  Sizes, 
and  different  Lengths  of  Funnel,  and  some  of  the  Rooms  so 
contriv'd  as  to  communicate  on  occasion  with  others,  so  as 
to  form  different  Combinations,  and  exemplify  different 
Cases;  with  quantities  of  green  Wax  Taper  cut  into  Pieces 
of  an  Inch  and  half,  16  of  which  stuck  together  in  a  Square, 
and  lit,  would  make  a  strong  Fire  for  a  little  Glass  Chimney, 
and  blown  out  would  continue  to  burn  and  give  Smoke  as 
long  as  desired.  With  such  an  Apparatus  all  the  Operations 
of  Smoke  and  rarify'd  Air  in  Rooms  and  Chimneys  might  be 
seen  thro'  their  transparent  Sides;  and  the  Effect  of  Winds 


438      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

on  Chimneys,  commanded  or  otherwise,  might  be  shown 
by  letting  the  entring  air  blow  upon  them  thro'  an  opened 
Window  of  the  Lecturer's  Chamber,  where  it  would  be  con- 
stant while  he  kept  a  good  Fire  in  his  Chimney.  By  the  help 
of  such  Lectures  our  Fumists  would  become  better  instructed. 
At  present  they  have  generally  but  one  Remedy,  which  per- 
haps they  have  known  effectual  in  some  one  Case  of  Smoky 
Chimneys,  and  they  apply  that  indiscriminately  to  all  the 
other  Cases,  without  success,  —  but  not  without  Expence 
to  their  Employers. 

With  all  the  Science,  however,  that  a  man  shall  suppose 
himself  possess'd  of  in  this  Article,  he  may  sometimes  meet 
with  Cases  that  shall  puzzle  him.  I  once  lodg'd  in  a  house 
at  London,  which,  in  a  little  Room,  had  a  single  Chimney 
and  Funnel.  The  Opening  was  very  small,  yet  it  did  not 
keep  in  the  Smoke,  and  all  Attempts  to  have  a  Fire  in  this 
room  were  fruitless.  I  could  not  imagine  the  Reason,  till 
at  length  observing  that  the  Chamber  over  it,  which  had  no 
Fireplace  in  it,  was  always  filled  with  Smoke  when  a  Fire 
was  kindled  below,  and  that  the  Smoke  came  thro'  the  Cracks 
and  Crevices  of  the  Wainscot,  I  had  the  Wainscot  taken  down, 
and  discover'd  that  the  Funnel,  which  went  up  behind  it, 
had  a  Crack  many  feet  in  Length,  and  wide  enough  to  admit 
my  Arm,  a  Breach  very  dangerous  with  regard  to  Fire,  and 
occasion'd  probably  by  an  apparent  irregular  Settling  of  one 
Side  of  the  House.  The  Air  entring  this  Breach  freely, 
destroy'd  the  drawing  Force  of  the  Funnel.  The  Remedy 
would  have  been,  filling  up  the  Breach,  or  rather  rebuilding 
the  Funnel;  but  the  Landlord  rather  chose  to  stop  up  the 
Chimney. 

Another  puzzling  Case  I  met  with  at  a  Friend's  Country 


1785]     CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      439 

House  near  London.  His  best  Room  had  a  Chimney,  in 
which  he  told  me  he  never  could  have  a  Fire,  for  all  the  Smoke 
came  out  into  the  Room.  I  flatter'd  myself  I  could  easily 
find  the  Cause,  and  prescribe  the  Cure.  I  had  a  Fire  made 
there,  and  found  it  as  he  said.  I  opened  the  Door,  and  per- 
ceived it  was  not  want  of  Air.  I  made  a  temporary  Contraction 
of  the  Opening  of  the  Chimney,  and  found  that  it  was  not 
its  being  too  large,  that  caus'd  the  Smoke  to  issue.  I  went  out 
and  look'd  up  at  the  Top  of  the  Chimney ;  its  Funnel  was 
join'd  in  the  same  Stack  with  others,  some  of  them  shorter, 
that  drew  very  well,  and  I  saw  nothing  to  prevent  its  doing 
the  same.  In  fine,  after  every  other  Examination  I  could 
think  of,  I  was  oblig'd  to  own  the  Insufficiency  of  my  Skill. 
But  my  friend,  who  made  no  Pretension  to  such  kind  of 
Knowledge,  afterwards  discover'd  the  Cause  himself.  He 
got  to  the  Top  of  the  Funnel  by  a  Ladder,  and  looking  down, 
found  it  filled  with  Twiggs  and  Straw  cemented  by  Earth, 
and  lin'd  with  Feathers.  It  seems  the  House,  after  being 
built,  had  stood  empty  some  Years  before  he  occupy'd  it; 
and  he  concluded,  that  some  large  Birds  had  taken  the  Ad- 
vantage of  its  retired  Situation  to  make  their  Nest  there. 
The  Rubbish,  considerable  in  Quantity,  being  removed,  and 
the  Funnel  cleared,  the  Chimney  drew  well,  and  gave  Satis- 
faction. 

In  general,  Smoke  is  a  very  tractable  Thing,  easily  governed 
and  directed  when  one  knows  the  Principles,  and  is  well 
informed  of  the  Circumstances.  You  know  I  made  it  descend 
in  my  Pennsylvania  Stove.  I  formerly  had  a  more  simple 
Construction,  in  which  the  same  Effect  was  produc'd,  but 
visible  to  the  eye  (Plate,  Figure  7).  It  was  compos'd  of  two 
plates,  A  B  and  C  D,  plac'd  as  in  the  figure.  The  lower 


440       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

plate  A  By  rested  with  its  Edge  in  the  Angle  made  by  the 
Hearth  with  the  Back  of  the  Chimney.  The  upper  Plate  was 
fix'd  to  the  Breast,  and  lapt  over  the  lower  about  6  Inches, 
leaving  a  space  of  4  Inches  wide  and  the  length  of  the  Plates 
(near  2  feet)  between  them.  Every  other  Passage  of  Air 
into  the  Funnel  was  well  stopt.  When  therefore  a  Fire  was 
made  at  E,  for  the  first  time  with  Charcoal,  till  the  Air  in 
the  Funnel  was  a  little  heated  throj  the  Plates,  and  then  Wood 
laid  on,  the  Smoke  would  rise  to  A,  turn  over  the  Edge  of 
that  Plate,  descend  to  D,  then  turn  under  the  Edge  of  the 
upper  Plate,  and  go  up  the  Chimney.  It  was  pretty  to  see, 
but  of  no  great  Use.  Placing  therefore  the  under  Plate  in  a 
higher  Situation,  I  remov'd  the  upper  plate  C  D,  and  placed 
it  perpendicularly  (Plate,  Fig.  8),  so  that  the  upper  Edge  of 
the  lower  Plate  A  B  came  within  about  3  Inches  of  it,  and 
might  be  push'd  further  from  it,  or  suffered  to  come  nearer 
to  it,  by  a  moveable  Wedge  between  them.  The  Flame  then 
ascending  from  the  Fire  at  E,  was  carried  to  strike  the  upper 
Plate,  made  it  very  hot,  and  its  Heat  rose  and  spread  with  the 
rarefied  Air  into  the  Room. 

I  believe  you  have  seen  in  use  with  me  the  Contrivance 
of  a  Sliding  Plate  over  the  Fire,  seemingly  plac'd  to  oppose 
the  rising  of  the  Smoke,  leaving  but  a  small  Passage  for  it, 
between  the  Edge  of  the  Plate  and  the  Back  of  the  Chimney. 
It  is  particularly  describ'd,  and  its  Uses  explained,  in  my 
former  printed  Letter,  and  I  mention  it  here  only  as  another 
instance  of  the  Tractability  of  Smoke. 

What  is  called  the  Staffordshire  Chimney,  affords  an 
Example  of  the  same  kind.  The  Opening  of  the  Chimney 
is  brick'd  up  even  with  the  Fore  Edge  of  its  Jambs, 
leaving  open  only  a  Passage  over  the  Grate  of  the  same 


1785]    CAUSES  AND   CURE  OF  SMOKY  CHIMNEYS      441 

width,  and  perhaps  8  Inches  high.  The  Grate  consists 
of  semicircular  Bars,  their  upper  Bar  of  the  greatest  Diame- 
ter, the  others  under  it  smaller  and  smaller,  so  that  it  has 
the  Appearance  of  half  a  round  Basket.  It  is,  with  the 
Coals  it  contains,  wholly  without  the  Wall  that  shuts  up 
the  Chimney,  yet  the  Smoke  bends  and  enters  the  Passage 
above  it,  the  Draft  being  strong,  because  no  Air  can  enter  that 
is  not  obliged  to  pass  near  or  through  the  Fire,  so  that  all 
that  the  Funnel  is  filFd  with  is  much  heated,  and  of  course 
much  rarefied. 

Much  more  of  the  Prosperity  of  a  Winter  Country  depends 
on  the  Plenty  and  Cheapness  of  Fuel,  than  is  generally 
imagined.  In  Travelling  I  have  observed,  that  in  those  Parts 
where  the  Inhabitants  can  have  neither  Wood,  nor  Coal,  nor 
Turf,  but  at  excessive  Prices,  the  Working  People  live  in 
miserable  Hovels,  are  ragged,  and  have  nothing  comfortable 
about  them.  But  when  Fuel  is  cheap  (or  where  they  have  the 
Art  of  managing  it  to  Advantage),  they  are  well  furnish'd  with 
Necessaries,  and  have  decent  Habitations.  The  obvious 
Reason  is,  that  the  Working  Hours  of  such  People  are  the 
profitable  Hours,  and  they  who  cannot  afford  sufficient  Fuel 
have  fewer  such  Hours  in  the  24,  than  those  who  have  it  cheap 
and  plenty:  For  much  of  the  domestic  Work  of  poor 
Women,  such  as  Spinning,  Sewing,  Knitting;  and  of  the 
Men,  in  those  Manufactures  that  require  little  bodily 
Exercise,  cannot  well  be  perform' d  where  the  Fingers  are 
numb'd  with  Cold.  Those  People,  therefore,  in  cold 
Weather,  are  induc'd  to  go  to  bed  sooner,  and  lie  longer  in 
a  Morning,  than  they  would  do,  if  they  could  have  good 
Fires  or  warm  Stoves  to  sit  by ;  and  their  Hours  of  Work 
are  not  sufficient  to  produce  the  Means  of  Comfortable 


442      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

Subsistence.  Those  public  Works,  therefore,  such  as  Roads, 
Canals,  &c.,  by  which  Fuel  may  be  brought  cheap  into 
such  Countries  from  distant  Places,  are  of  great  Utility; 
and  those  who  promote  them  may  be  reckoned  among  the 
Benefactors  of  Mankind. 

I  have  great  Pleasure  in  having  thus  comply 'd  with 
your  Request,  and  in  the  Reflection,  that  the  Friendship 
you  honour  me  with,  and  in  which  I  have  ever  been  so 
happy,  has  continued  so  many  Years  without  the  smallest 
Interruption.  Our  Distance  from  each  other  is  now  aug- 
mented, and  Nature  must  soon  put  an  End  to  the  possibility 
of  my  continuing  our  Correspondence ;  but,  if  Consciousness 
and  Memory  remain  in  a  future  State,  my  Esteem  and 
Respect  for  you,  my  dear  Friend,  will  be  everlasting. 

B.  FRANKLIN. 

Notes  to  the  Letter  upon  Chimneys 
No.  I 

The  latest  work  on  architecture,  that  I  have  seen,  is  that 
entitled  Nutshells,  which  appears  to  be  written  by  a  very 
ingenious  man,  and  contains  a  table  of  the  proportions  of 
the  openings  of  chimneys;  but  they  relate  solely  to  the  pro- 
portions he  gives  his  rooms,  without  the  smallest  regard  to 
the  funnels.  And  he  remarks,  respecting  those  proportions, 
that  they  are  similar  to  the  harmonic  divisions  of  a  mono- 
chord.1  He  does  not  indeed  lay  much  stress  on  this;  but  it 

1  "  It  may  be  just  remarked  here,  that  upon  comparing  these  proportions 
with  those  arising  from  the  common  divisions  of  the  monochord,  it  happens, 
that  the  first  answers  to  unisons  ;  and,  although  the  second  is  a  discord,  the 
third  answers  to  the  third  minor,  the  fourth  to  the  third  major,  the  fifth  to  the 
fourth,  the  sixth  to  the  fifth,  and  the  seventh  to  the  octave."  — Nutshells,  page 
85.  — ED. 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  443 

shows  that  we  like  the  appearance  of  principles ;  and  where 
we  have  not  true  ones,  we  have  some  satisfaction  in  produc- 
ing such  as  are  imaginary. 

No.  II 

The  description  of  the  sliding  plates  here  promised,  and 
which  have  been  since  brought  into  use  under  various  names, 
with  some  immaterial  changes,  is  contained  in  a  former 
letter  to  James  Bowdoin. 


1599.  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  FOR 
BURNING  OF  PITCOAL,  AND  CONSUMING 
ALL  ITS  SMOKE.1 

TOWARDS  the  end  of  the  last  century  an  ingenious  French 
philosopher,  whose  name  I  am  sorry  I  cannot  recollect,  ex- 
hibited an  experiment  to  show  that  very  offensive  things 
might  be  burnt  in  the  middle  of  a  chamber,  such  as  woollen 
rags,  feathers,  &c.,  without  creating  the  least  smoke  or 
smell.  The  machine  in  which  the  experiment  was  made, 
if  I  remember  right,  was  of  this  form,  (Plate  XV.  Fig.  i,) 
made  of  plate  iron.  Some  clear  burning  charcoals  were  put 
into  the  opening  of  the  short  tube  A,  and  supported  there 
by  the  grate  B.  The  air,  as  soon  as  the  tubes  grew  warm, 
would  ascend  in  the  longer  leg  C  and  go  out  at  D,  conse- 
quently air  must  enter  at  A  descending  to  B.  In  this  course 
it  must  be  heated  by  the  burning  coals  through  which  it 
passed,  and  rise  more  forcibly  in  the  longer  tube,  in  propor- 

1  From  Transactions  of  The  American  Philosophical  Society  (Old  Series) 
II :  57.  It  was  read  at  a  meeting  of  the  Society,  January  28,  1786.  —  ED. 


444      THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

tion  to  its  degree  of  heat  or  rarefaction,  and  length  of  that 
tube.  For  such  a  machine  is  a  kind  of  inverted  syphon; 
and,  as  the  greater  weight  of  water  in  the  longer  leg  of  a 
common  syphon  in  descending  is  accompanied  by  an  ascent 
of  the  same  fluid  in  the  shorter;  so,  in  this  inverted  syphon, 
the  greater  quantity  of  levity  of  air  in  the  longer  leg,  in  rising 
is  accompanied  by  the  descent  of  air  in  the  shorter.  The 
things  to  be  burned  being  laid  on  the  hot  coals  at  A,  the 
smoke  must  descend  through  those  coals,  and  be  converted 
into  flame,  which,  after  destroying  the  offensive  smell,  came 
out  at  the  end  of  the  longer  tube  as  mere  heated  air. 

Whoever  would  repeat  this  experiment  with  success,  must 
take  care  that  the  part  A  B,  of  the  short  tube,  be  quite  full  of 
burning  coals,  so  that  no  part  of  the  smoke  may  descend  and 
pass  by  them  without  going  through  them,  and  being  con- 
verted into  flame;  and  that  the  longer  tube  be  so  heated  as 
that  the  current  of  ascending  hot  air  is  established  in  it 
before  the  things  to  be  burnt  are  laid  on  the  coals ;  otherwise 
there  will  be  a  disappointment. 

It  does  not  appear,  either  in  the  Memoirs  of  the  Academy 
of  Sciences,  or  Philosophical  Transactions  of  the  English 
Royal  Society,  that  any  improvement  was  ever  made  of  this 
ingenious  experiment,  by  applying  it  to  uesful  purposes. 
But  there  is  a  German  book,  entitled  Vulcanus  Famulans, 
by  John  George  Leutmann,  P.  D.,  printed  at  Wirtemberg, 
in  1723,  which  describes,  among  a  great  variety  of  other 
stoves  for  warming  rooms,  one,  which  seems  to  have  been 
formed  on  the  same  principle,  and  probably  from  the  hint 
thereby  given,  though  the  French  experiment  is  not  men- 
tioned. This  book  being  scarce,  I  have  translated  the 
chapter  describing  the  stove,  viz. 


PU 


t 


I 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  445 

"CHAP.  VII. 

11  On  a  stove,  which  draws  downwards. 

"Here  follows  the  description  of  a  sort  of  stove,  which 
can  easily  be  removed,  and  again  replaced  at  pleasure.  This 
drives  the  fire  down  under  itself,  and  gives  no  smoke,  but, 
however,  a  very  unwholesome  vapour. 

"In  the  figure,  A  is  an  iron  vessel  like  a  funnel,  (Plate 
XV.  Fig.  20,)  in  diameter  at  the  top  about  twelve  inches,  at 
the  bottom  near  the  grate  about  five  inches;  its  height 
twelve  inches.  This  is  set  on  the  barrel  C,  which  is  ten 
inches  diameter  and  two  feet  long,  closed  at  each  end  E  E. 
From  one  end  rises  a  pipe  or  flue  about  four  inches  diameter, 
on  which  other  pieces  of  pipe  are  set,  which  are  gradually 
contracted  to  Z>,  where  the  opening  is  but  about  two  inches. 
Those  pipes  must  together  be  at  least  four  feet  high.  B  is 
an  iron  grate.  F  F  are  iron  handles  guarded  with  wood, 
by  which  the  stove  is  to  be  lifted  and  moved.  It  stands  on 
three  legs.  Care  must  be  taken  to  stop  well  all  the  joints, 
that  no  smoke  may  leak  through. 

"  When  this  stove  is  to  be  used,  it  must  first  be  carried  into 
the  kitchen  and  placed  in  the  chimney  near  the  fire.  There 
burning  wood  must  be  laid  and  left  upon  its  grate  till  the 
barrel  C  is  warm,  and  the  smoke  no  longer  rises  at  A,  but 
descends  towards  C.  Then  it  is  to  be  carried  into  the  room 
which  it  is  to  warm.  When  once  the  barrel  C  is  warm,  fresh 
wood  may  be  thrown  into  the  vessel  A  as  often  as  one  pleases, 
the  flame  descends  and  without  smoke,  which  is  so  consumed 
that  only  a  vapour  passes  out  at  D. 

"As  this  vapour  is  unwholesome,  and  affects  the  head, 
one  may  be  freed  from  it,  by  fixing  in  the  wall  of  the  room 


446       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

an  inverted  funnel,  such  as  people  use  to  hang  over  lamps, 
through  which  their  smoke  goes  out  as  through  a  chimney. 
This  funnel  carries  out  all  the  vapour  cleverly,  so  that  one 
finds  no  inconvenience  from  it,  even  though  the  opening  D 
be  placed  a  span  below  the  mouth  of  the  said  funnel  G.  The 
neck  of  the  funnel  is  better  when  made  gradually  bending, 
than  if  turned  in  a  right  angle. 

"The  cause  of  the  draft  downwards  in  the  stove  is  the 
pressure  of  the  outward  air,  which,  falling  into  the  vessel 
A  in  a  column  of  twelve  inches  diameter,  finds  only  a  resist- 
ing passage  at  the  grate  B,  of  five  inches,  and  one  at  Z),  of 
two  inches,  which  are  much  too  weak  to  drive  it  back  again ; 
besides,  A  stands  much  higher  than  B,  and  so  the  pressure 
on  it  is  greater  and  more  forcible,  and  beats  down  the  flame 
to  that  part  where  it  finds  the  least  resistance.  Carrying  the 
machine  first  to  the  kitchen  fire  for  preparation  is  on  this 
account,  that  in  the  beginning  the  fire  and  smoke  naturally 
ascend,  till  the  air  in  the  close  barrel  C  is  made  thinner  by 
the  warmth.  When  that  vessel  is  heated,  the  air  in  it  is  rare- 
fied, and  then  all  the  smoke  and  fire  descends  under  it. 

"  The  wood  should  be  thoroughly  dry,  and  cut  into  pieces 
five  or  six  inches  long,  to  fit  it  for  being  thrown  into  the 
funnel  A." 

It  appears  to  me,  by  Mr.  Leutmann's  explanation  of  the 
operation  of  this  machine,  that  he  did  not  understand  the 
principles  of  it,  whence  I  conclude  he  was  not  the  inventor  of 
it;  and  by  the  description  of  it,  wherein  the  opening  at  A 
is  made  so  large,  and  the  pipe  E  D,  so  short,  I  am  persuaded 
he  never  made  nor  saw  the  experiment,  for  the  first  ought  to 
be  much  smaller,  and  the  last  much  higher,  or  it  hardly  will 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  447 

succeed.  The  carrying  it  in  the  kitchen,  too,  every  time  the 
fire  should  happen  to  be  out,  must  be  so  troublesome,  that 
it  is  not  likely  ever  to  have  been  in  practice,  and  probably 
has  never  been  shown  but  as  a  philosophical  experiment. 
The  funnel  for  conveying  the  vapour  out  of  the  room  would 
besides  have  been  uncertain  in  its  operation,  as  a  wind  blow- 
ing against  its  mouth  would  drive  the  vapour  back. 

The  stove  I  am  about  to  describe  was  also  formed  on  the 
idea  given  by  the  French  experiment,  and  completely  carried 
into  execution  before  I  had  any  knowledge  of  the  German 
invention;  which  I  wonder  should  remain  so  many  years  in 
a  country,  where  men  are  so  ingenious  in  the  management 
of  fire,  without  receiving  long  since  the  improvements  I 
have  given  it. 

Description  of  the  Parts. 

A,  the  bottom  plate  which  lies  flat  upon  the  hearth,  with 
its  partitions,  i,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  (Plate,  Fig.  2,)  that  are  cast 
with  it,  and  a  groove  Z  Z,  in  which  are  to  slide  the  bottom 
edges  of  the  small  plates  F,  F,  figure  12 ;  which  plates  meet- 
ing at  X  close  the  front. 

B  i,  figure  3,  is  the  cover  plate  showing  its  under  side,  with 
the  grooves  i,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  to  receive  the  top  edges  of  the  par- 
titions that  are  fixed  to  the  bottom  plate.  It  shows  also  the 
grate  W  W,  the  bars  of  which  are  cast  in  the  plate,  and  a  groove 
V  V,  which  comes  right  over  the  groove  Z  Z,  figure  2,  receiv- 
ing the  upper  edges  of  the  small  sliding  plates  F,  F,  figure  12. 

B  2,  figure  4,  shows  the  upper  side  of  the  same  plate,  with 
a  square  impression  or  groove  for  receiving  the  bottom  mould- 
ings T  T  T  T  of  the  three-sided  box  C,  figure  5,  which  is 
cast  in  one  piece. 


448        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

D,  figure  6,  its  cover,  showing  its  under  side  with  grooves 
to  receive  the  upper  edges  S  S  S  of  the  sides  of  C,  figure  5, 
also  a  groove  R  R,  which,  when  the  cover  is  put  on,  comes 
right  over  another  Q  Q  hi  C,  figure  5,  between  which  is  to 
slide 

E,  figure  7,  the  front  plate  of  the  box. 

P,  a  hole  three  inches  diameter  through  the  cover  D, 
figure  6,  over  which  hole  stands  the  vase  F,  figure  8,  which 
has  a  corresponding  hole  two  inches  diameter,  through  its 
bottom. 

The  top  of  the  vase  opens  at  O  O  O,  figure  8,  and  turns 
back  upon  a  hinge  behind,  when  coals  are  to  be  put  in;  the 
vase  has  a  grate  within  at  AT"  N  of  cast  iron  H,  figure  9,  and  a 
hole  in  the  top,  one  and  a  half  inches  diameter,  to  admit  air, 
and  to  receive  the  ornamental  brass  gilt  flame  M,  figure  10, 
which  stands  in  that  hole,  and,  being  itself  hollow  and  open, 
suffers  air  to  pass  through  it  to  the  fire. 

G,  figure  n,  is  a  drawer  of  plate  iron,  that  slips  in  between 
in  the  partitions  2  and  3,  figure  2,  to  receive  the  falling 
ashes.  It  is  concealed  when  the  small  sliding  plates  F,  F, 
figure  12,  are  shut  together. 

/  /  /  /,  figure  8,  is  a  niche  built  of  brick  in  the  chimney, 
and  plastered.  It  closes  the  chimney  over  the  vase,  but 
leaves  two  funnels,  one  in  each  corner,  communicating  with 
the  bottom  box  K  K,  figure  2. 

Dimensions  of  the  Parts. 

FEET.  IN. 

Front  of  the  bottom  box, 20 

Height  of  its  partitions, o    4-i 

Length  of  No.  i,  2,  3,  and  4,  each,      ....13 
Length  of  No.  5  and  6,  each, o    8j 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  449 

Breadth  of   the   passage   between   No.    2   and 

3i 06 

Breadth  of  the  other  passages,  each,    .     .    .    .  o    3^ 

Breadth  of  the  grate, o    6j 

Length  of  ditto, 08 

Bottom  moulding  of  box  C,  square,      .     .     .     .  i     o 

Height  of  the  sides  of  ditto, 04 

Length  of  the  back  side, o  10 

Length  of  the  right  and  left  sides,  each,        ..09] 

Length  of  the  front  plate  £,  where  longest,      .     .  on 

The  cover  D,  square, 012 

Hole  in  ditto,  diameter, 3 

Sliding  plates  F,  F,  their  length,  each,     .     .     .  i     o 
-  their  breadth,  each,     ...04^ 

Drawer  G,  its  length, i     o 

-  breadth,        °    5f 

-  depth, 04 

-  G,  depth  of  its  further  end,  only,      .     .  o     i 

Grate  H  in  the  vase,  its  diameter  to  the 

extremity  of  its  knobs, °    5f 

Thickness  of  the  bars  at  top, o    oj 

-  at  bottom,  less,     .     .     .     o    o 

Depth  of  the  bars  at  the  top, o    of 

Height  of  the  vase, i     6 

Diameter  of  the  opening  O  O,  in  the  clear,    ..08 

Diameter  of  the  air  hole  at  top, o     ij 

of  the  flame  hole  at  bottom,      ...02 

To  fix  this  Machine. 

Spread  mortar  on  the  hearth  to  bed  the  bottom  plate  A, 
then  lay  that  plate  level,  equally  distant  from  each  jamb, 

VOL.  IX  —  2  G 


450       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1785 

and  projecting  out  as  far  as  you  think  proper.  Then  put- 
ting some  Windsor  loam  in  the  grooves  of  the  cover  B,  lay 
that  on ;  trying  the  sliding  plates  F,  F,  to  see  if  they  move 
freely  in  the  grooves  Z  Z,  V  V,  designed  for  them. 

Then  begin  to  build  the  niche,  observing  to  leave  the  square 
corners  of  the  chimney  unfilled;  for  they  are  to  be  funnels. 
And  observe  also  to  leave  a  free  open  communication  between 
the  passages  at  Ky  Kt  and  the  bottom  of  those  funnels,  and 
mind  to  close  the  chimney  above  the  top  of  the  niche,  that  no 
air  may  pass  up  that  way.  The  concave  back  of  the  niche 
will  rest  on  the  circular  iron  partition  i  A  4,  figure  2,  then,  with 
a  little  loam,  put  on  the  box  C  over  the  grate,  the  open  side  of 
the  box  in  front. 

Then,  with  loam  in  three  of  its  grooves,  the  groove  R  R 
being  left  clean,  and  brought  directly  over  the  groove  Q  Q 
in  the  box,  put  on  the  cover  D,  trying  the  front  plate  JB,  to 
see  if  it  slides  freely  in  those  grooves. 

Lastly,  set  on  the  vase,  which  has  small  holes  in  the  mould- 
ing of  its  bottom  to  receive  two  iron  pins  that  rise  out  of 
the  plate  D  at  7,  /,  for  the  better  keeping  it  steady. 

Then  putting  in  the  grate  H,  which  rests  on  its  three  knobs 
h  h  h  against  the  inside  of  the  vase,  and  slipping  the  drawer 
into  its  place;  the  machine  is  fit  for  use. 

To  use  it. 

Let  the  first  fire  be  made  after  eight  in  the  evening,  or 
before  eight  in  the  morning,  for  at  those  times  and  between 
those  hours  all  night,  there  is  usually  a  draft  up  a  chimney, 
though  it  has  long  been  without  fire ;  but  between  those  hours 
in  the  day  there  is  often,  in  a  cold  chimney,  a  draft  down- 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  451 

wards,  when,  if  you  attempt  to  kindle  a  fire,  the  smoke  will 
come  into  the  room. 

But  to  be  certain  of  your  proper  time,  hold  a  flame  over 
the  air  hole  at  the  top.  If  the  flame  is  drawn  strongly  down 
for  a  continuance,  without  whiffling,  you  may  begin  to  kindle 
a  fire. 

First  put  in  a  few  charcoals  on  the  grate  H. 

Lay  some  small  sticks  on  the  charcoals. 

Lay  some  pieces  of  paper  on  the  sticks. 

Kindle  the  paper  with  a  candle. 

Then  shut  down  the  top,  and  the  air  will  pass  down 
through  the  air  hole,  blow  the  flame  of  the  paper  down 
through  the  sticks,  kindle  them,  and  their  flame  passing 
lower,  kindles  the  charcoal. 

When  the  charcoal  is  well  kindled,  lay  on  it  the  sea-coals, 
observing  not  to  choak  the  fire  by  putting  on  too  much  at 
first. 

The  flame  descending  through  the  hole  in  the  bottom 
of  the  vase,  and  that  in  plate  D,  into  the  box  C,  passes 
down  farther  through  the  grate  WW  in  plate  B  i,  then 
passes  horizontally  towards  the  back  of  the  chimney ;  there 
dividing,  and  turning  to  the  right  and  left,  one  part  of  it 
passes  round  the  far  end  of  the  partition  2,  then  coming  for- 
ward it  turns  round  the  near  end  of  partition  i,  then  moving 
backward  it  arrives  at  the  opening  into  the  bottom  of  one  of 
the  upright  corner  funnels  behind  the  niche,  through  which 
it  ascends  into  the  chimney,  thus  heating  that  half  of  the 
box  and  that  side  of  the  niche.  The  other  part  of  the  divided 
flame  passes  round  the  far  end  of  partition  3,  round  the  near 
end  of  partition  4,  and  so  into  and  up  the  other  corner  funnel, 
thus  heating  the  other  half  of  the  box,  and  the  other  side  of  the 


452       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

niche.  The  vase  itself,  and  the  box  C,  will  also  be  very  hot,  and 
the  air  surrounding  them  being  heated,  and  rising,  as  it  cannot 
get  into  the  chimney,  it  spreads  in  the  room,  colder  air  suc- 
ceeding is  warmed  in  its  turn,  rises  and  spreads,  till  by  the 
continual  circulation  the  whole  is  warmed. 

If  you  should  have  occasion  to  make  your  first  fire  at 
hours  not  so  convenient  as  those  above  mentioned,  and  when 
the  chimney  does  not  draw,  do  not  begin  it  in  the  vase,  but  in 
one  or  more  of  the  passages  of  the  lower  plate,  first  covering 
the  mouth  of  the  vase.  After  the  chimney  has  drawn  a  while 
with  the  fire  thus  low,  and  begins  to  be  a  little  warm,  you  may 
close  those  passages  and  kindle  another  fire  in  the  box  C, 
leaving  its  sliding  shutter  a  little  open;  and  when  you  find, 
after  some  time,  that  the  chimney,  being  warmed,  draws 
forcibly,  you  may  shut  that  passage,  open  your  vase,  and 
kindle  your  fire  there,  as  above  directed.  The  chimney  well 
warmed  by  the  first  day's  fire  will  continue  to  draw  constantly 
all  winter,  if  fires  are  made  daily. 

You  will,  in  the  management  of  your  fire,  have  need  of 
the  following  implements ; 

A  pair  of  small  light  tongs,  twelve  or  fifteen  inches  long; 
Plate,  figure  13. 

A  light  poker  about  the  same  length,  with  a  flat  broad 
point,  figure  14. 

A  rake  to  draw  ashes  out  of  the  passages  of  the  lower 
plate,  where  the  lighter  kind  escaping  the  ash-box  will  gather 
by  degrees,  and  perhaps  once  in  a  week  or  ten  days  require 
being  removed,  figure  15. 

And  a  fork  with  its  prongs  wide  enough  to  slip  on  the  neck 
of  the  vase  cover,  in  order  to  raise  and  open  it  when  hot,  to 
put  in  fresh  coals,  figure  16. 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  453 

In  the  management  of  this  stove,  there  are  certain  precau- 
tions to  be  observed  at  first,  with  attention,  till  they  become 
habitual.  To  avoid  the  inconvenience  of  smoke,  see  that 
the  grate  H  be  clear  before  you  begin  to  light  a  fresh 
fire.  If  you  find  it  clogged  with  cinders  and  ashes,  turn  it 
up  with  your  tongs  and  let  them  fall  upon  the  grate  below; 
the  ashes  will  go  through  it,  and  the  cinders  may  be  raked  off 
and  returned  into  the  vase  when  you  would  burn  them.  Then 
see  that  all  the  sliding  plates  are  in  their  places  and  close  shut, 
that  no  air  may  enter  the  stove  but  through  the  round  open- 
ing at  the  top  of  the  vase.  And  to  avoid  the  inconvenience 
of  dust  from  the  ashes,  let  the  ash-drawer  be  taken  out  of 
the  room  to  be  emptied ;  and,  when  you  rake  the  passages, 
do  it  when  the  draft  of  the  air  is  strong  inwards,  and  put  the 
ashes  carefully  into  the  ash-box,  that  remaining  in  its  place. 

If,  being  about  to  go  abroad,  you  would  prevent  your 
fire  burning  in  your  absence,  you  may  do  it  by  taking  the 
brass  flame  from  the  top  of  the  vase,  and  covering 
the  passage  with  a  round  tin  plate,  which  will  prevent 
the  entry  of  more  air  than  barely  sufficient  to  keep  a  few 
of  the  coals  alive.  When  you  return,  though  some  hours 
absent,  by  taking  off  the  tin  plate  and  admitting  the  air, 
your  fire  will  soon  be  recovered. 

The  effect  of  this  machine,  well  managed,  is  to  burn  not 
only  the  coals,  but  all  the  smoke  of  the  coals,  so  that  while 
the  fire  is  burning,  if  you  go  out  and  observe  the  top  of  your 
chimney,  you  will  see  no  smoke  issuing,  nor  any  thing  but 
clear  warm  air,  which  as  usual  makes  the  bodies  seen 
through  it  appear  waving. 

But  let  none  imagine  from  this,  that  it  may  be  a  cure 
for  bad  or  smoky  chimneys,  much  less,  that,  as  it  burns  the 


454       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

smoke,  it  may  be  used  in  a  room  that  has  no  chimney.  'Tis 
by  the  help  of  a  good  chimney,  the  higher  the  better,  that  it 
produces  its  effect ;  and  though  a  flue  of  plate  iron  sufficiently 
high  might  be  raised  in  a  very  lofty  room,  the  management 
to  prevent  all  disagreeable  vapor  would  be  too  nice  for  com- 
mon practice,  and  small  errors  would  have  unpleasing 
consequences. 

It  is  certain,  that  clean  iron  yields  no  offensive  smell  when 
heated.  Whatever  of  that  kind  you  perceive,  where  there 
are  iron  stoves,  proceeds  therefore  from  some  foulness  burn- 
ing or  fuming  on  their  surface.  They  should  therefore 
never  be  spit  upon,  or  greased,  nor  should  any  dust  be  suf- 
fered to  lie  upon  them.  But,  as  the  greatest  care  will  not 
always  prevent  these  things,  it  is  well  once  a  week  to  wash  the 
stove  with  soap  lees  and  a  brush,  rinsing  it  with  clean  water. 

The  Advantages  of  this  Stove. 

1.  The  chimney  does  not  grow  foul,  nor  ever  need  sweep- 
ing ;  for  as  no  smoke  enters  it,  no  soot  can  form  in  it. 

2.  The  air  heated  over  common  fires  instantly  quits  the 
room  and  goes  up  the  chimney  with  the  smoke;   but  in  the 
stove,  it  is  obliged  to  descend  in  flame  and  pass  through 
the  long  winding  horizontal  passages,  communicating  its  heat 
to  a  body  of  iron  plate,  which,  having  thus  time  to  receive  the 
heat,  communicates  the  same  to  the  air  of  the  room,  and  there- 
by warms  it  to  a  greater  degree. 

3.  The  whole  of  the  fuel  is  consumed  by  being  turned 
into  flame,  and  you  have  the  benefit  of  its  heat;   whereas, 
in  common  chimneys,  a  great  part  goes  away  in  smoke  which 
you  see  as  it  rises,  but  it  affords  you  no  rays  of   warmth. 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  455 

One  may  obtain  some  notion  of  the  quantity  of  fuel  thus  wasted 
in  smoke,  by  reflecting  on  the  quantity  of  soot  that  a  few  weeks 
firing  will  lodge  against  the  sides  of  the  chimney,  and  yet  this 
is  formed  only  of  those  particles  of  the  column  of  smoke  that 
happen  to  touch  the  sides  in  its  ascent.  How  much  more 
must  have  passed  off  in  the  air  ?  And  we  know  that  this  soot 
is  still  fuel ;  for  it  will  burn  and  flame  as  such,  and  when  hard 
caked  together  is  indeed  very  like  and  almost  as  solid  as  the 
coal  it  proceeds  from.  The  destruction  of  your  fuel  goes  on 
nearly  in  the  same  quantity,  whether  in  smoke  or  in  flame ; 
but  there  is  no  comparison  in  the  difference  of  heat  given. 
Observe  when  fresh  coals  are  first  put  on  your  fire,  what  a 
body  of  smoke  arises.  This  smoke  is  for  a  long  time  too  cold 
to  take  flame.  If  you  then  plunge  a  burning  candle  into  it, 
the  candle,  instead  of  inflaming  the  smoke,  will  instantly  be 
itself  extinguished.  Smoke  must  have  a  certain  degree  of 
heat  to  be  inflammable.  As  soon  as  it  has  acquired  that 
degree,  the  approach  of  a  candle  will  inflame  the  whole  body, 
and  you  will  be  very  sensible  of  the  difference  of  the  heat  it 
gives.  A  still  easier  experiment  may  be  made  with  the  candle 
itself.  Hold  your  hand  near  the  side  of  its  flame,  and  observe 
the  heat  it  gives;  then  blow  it  out,  the  hand  remaining  in 
the  same  place,  and  observe  what  heat  may  be  given  by  the 
smoke  that  rises  from  the  still  burning  snuff.  You  will  find 
it  very  little.  And  yet  that  smoke  has  in  it  the  substance  of 
so  much  flame,  and  will  instantly  produce  it,  if  you  hold 
another  candle  above  it  so  as  to  kindle  it.  Now  the  smoke 
from  the  fresh  coals  laid  on  this  stove,  instead  of  ascending 
and  leaving  the  fire  while  too  cold  to  burn,  being  obliged  to 
descend  through  the  burning  coals,  receives  among  them  that 
degree  of  heat  which  converts  it  into  flame,  and  the  heat  of 


456        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

that  flame  is  communicated  to  the  air  of  the  room,  as  above 
explained. 

4.  The  flame  from  the  fresh  coals  laid  on  in  this  stove,  de- 
scending through  the  coals  already  ignited,  preserves  them 
long  from  consuming,  and  continues  them  in  the  state  of  red 
coals  as  long  as  the  flame  continues  that  surrounds  them,  by 
which  means  the  fires  made  in  this  stove  are  of  much  longer 
duration  than  in  any  other,  and  fewer  coals  are  therefore 
necessary  for  a  day.  This  is  a  very  material  advantage 
indeed.  That  flame  should  be  a  kind  of  pickle,  to  preserve 
burning  coals  from  consuming,  may  seem  a  paradox  to  many, 
and  very  unlikely  to  be  true,  as  it  appeared  to  me  the  first 
time  I  observed  the  fact.  I  must  therefore  relate  the  cir- 
cumstances, and  shall  mention  an  easy  experiment,  by  which 
my  reader  may  be  in  possession  of  ever}7  thing  necessary  to 
the  understanding  of  it.  In  the  first  trial  I  made  of  this  kind 
of  stove,  which  was  constructed  of  thin  plate  iron,  I  had, 
instead  of  the  vase,  a  kind  of  inverted  pyramid  like  a  mill- 
hopper  ;  and  fearing  at  first  that  the  small  grate  contained  in 
it  might  be  clogged  by  cynders,  and  the  passage  of  the  flame 
sometimes  obstructed,  I  ordered  a  little  door  near  the  grate, 
by  means  of  which  I  might  on  occasion  clear  it.  Though, 
after  the  stove  was  made  and  before  I  tried  it,  I  began  to  think 
this  precaution  superfluous,  from  an  imagination,  that  the 
flame  being  contracted  in  the  narrow  part  where  the  grate 
was  placed,  would  be  more  powerful  in  consuming  what  it 
should  there  meet  with,  and  that  any  cynders  between  or 
near  the  bars  would  be  presently  destroyed  and  the  passage 
opened. 

After  the  stove  was  fixed  and  in  action,  I  had  a  pleasure 
now  and  then  in  opening  that  door  a  little,  to  see  through 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  457 

the  crevice  how  the  flame  descended  among  the  red  coals; 
and,  observing  once  a  single  coal  lodged  on  the  bars  in  the 
middle  of  the  focus,  a  fancy  took  me  to  observe  by  my  watch 
in  how  short  a  time  it  would  be  consumed.  I  looked  at  it 
long  without  perceiving  it  to  be  at  all  diminished,  which  sur- 
prised me  greatly.  At  length  it  occurred  to  me,  that  I  and 
many  others  had  seen  the  same  thing  thousands  of  times, 
in  the  conservation  of  the  red  coal  formed  in  the  snuff  of  a 
burning  candle,  which,  while  envelloped  in  flame,  and  thereby 
prevented  from  the  contact  of  passing  air,  is  long  continued 
and  augments  instead  of  diminishing,  so  that  we  are  often 
obliged  to  remove  it  by  the  snuffers,  or  bend  it  out  of  the  flame 
into  the  air,  where  it  consumes  presently  to  ashes.  I  then 
supposed,  that  to  consume  a  body  by  fire,  passing  air  was 
necessary  to  receive  and  carry  off  the  separated  particles  of 
the  body ;  and  that  the  air  passing  in  the  flame  of  my  stove, 
and  in  the  flame  of  a  candle,  being  already  saturated  with 
such  particles,  could  not  receive  more,  and  therefore  left  the 
coal  undiminished  as  long  as  the  outward  air  was  prevented 
from  coming  to  it  by  the  surrounding  flame,  which  kept  it 
in  a  situation  somewhat  like  that  of  charcoal  in  a  well  luted 
crucible,  which,  though  long  kept  in  a  strong  fire,  comes  out 
unconsumed. 

An  easy  experiment  will  satisfy  any  one  of  this  conserving 
power  of  flame  envelloping  red  coal.  Take  a  small  stick 
of  deal  or  other  wood  the  size  of  a  goose  quill,  and  hold  it 
horizontally  and  steadily  in  the  flame  of  the  candle  above  the 
wick,  without  touching  it,  but  in  the  body  of  the  flame.  The 
wood  will  first  be  inflamed,  and  burn  beyond  the  edge  of  the 
flame  of  the  candle,  perhaps  a  quarter  of  an  inch.  When  the 
flame  of  the  wood  goes  out,  it  will  leave  a  red  coal  at  the  end 


458       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

of  the  stick,  part  of  which  will  be  in  the  flame  of  the  candle 
and  part  out  in  the  air.  In  a  minute  or  two  you  will  perceive 
the  coal  in  the  air  diminish  gradually,  so  as  to  form  a  neck ; 
while  the  part  in  the  flame  continues  of  its  first  size,  and  at 
length  the  neck  being  quite  consumed,  it  drops  off;  and, 
by  rolling  it  between  your  fingers  when  extinguished,  you  will 
find  it  still  a  solid  coal. 

However,  as  one  cannot  be  always  putting  on  fresh  fuel 
in  this  stove  to  furnish  a  continual  flame,  as  is  done  in  a 
candle,  the  air  in  the  intervals  of  time  gets  at  the  red  coals 
and  consumes  them.  Yet  the  conservation  while  it  lasted,  so 
much  delayed  the  consumption  of  the  coals,  that  two  fires, 
one  made  in  the  morning,  and  the  other  in  the  afternoon,  each 
made  by  only  a  hatful  of  coals,  were  sufficient  to  keep  my 
writing  room,  about  sixteen  feet  square  and  ten  high,  warm  a 
whole  day.  The  fire  kindled  at  seven  in  the  morning  would 
burn  till  noon ;  and,  all  the  iron  of  the  machine  with  the  walls 
of  the  niche  being  thereby  heated  the  room  kept  warm  till 
evening,  when  another  smaller  fire  kindled  kept  it  warm  till 
midnight. 

Instead  of  the  sliding  plate  E,  which  shuts  the  front  of  the 
box  C,  I  sometimes  used  another,  which  had  a  pane  of  glass, 
or,  which  is  better,  of  Muscovy  talc,  that  the  flame  might  be 
seen  descending  from  the  bottom  of  the  vase  and  passing  in 
a  column  through  the  box  C,  into  the  cavities  of  the  bottom 
plate,  like  water  falling  from  a  funnel,  admirable  to  such  as 
are  not  acquainted  with  the  nature  of  the  machine,  and  in 
itself  a  pleasing  spectacle. 

Every  utensil,  however  properly  contrived  to  serve  its  pur- 
pose, requires  some  practice  before  it  can  be  used  adroitly. 
Put  into  the  hands  of  a  man  for  the  first  time  a  gimlet  or  a 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  459 

hammer,  (very  simple  instruments,)  and  tell  him  the  use  of 
them,  he  shall  neither  bore  a  hole  or  drive  a  nail  with  the 
dexterity  and  success  of  another,  who  has  been  accustomed  to 
handle  them.  The  beginner,  therefore,  in  the  use  of  this 
machine,  will  do  well  not  to  be  discouraged  with  little  acci- 
dents, that  may  arise  at  first  from  his  want  of  experience. 
Being  somewhat  complex,  it  requires,  as  already  said,  a  variety 
of  attentions;  habit  will  render  them  unnecessary.  And 
the  studious  man,  who  is  much  in  his  chamber,  and  has  a 
pleasure  in  managing  his  own  fire,  will  soon  find  this  a  machine 
most  comfortable  and  delightful.  To  others,  who  leave  their 
fires  to  the  care  of  ignorant  servants,  I  do  not  recommend  it. 
They  will  with  difficulty  acquire  the  knowledge  necessary, 
and  will  make  frequent  blunders,  that  will  fill  your  room  with 
smoke.  It  is  therefore  by  no  means  fit  for  common  use  in 
families.  It  may  be  adviseable  to  begin  with  the  flaming  kind 
of  stone  coal,  which  is  large,  and,  not  caking  together,  is  not 
so  apt  to  clog  the  grate.  After  some  experience,  any  kind  of 
coal  may  be  used,  and  with  this  advantage,  that  no  smell, 
even  from  the  most  sulphurous  kind,  can  come  into  your 
room,  the  current  of  air  being  constantly  into  the  vase,  where 
too  that  smell  is  all  consumed. 

The  vase  form  was  chosen  as  being  elegant  in  itself,  and 
very  proper  for  burning  of  coals.  Where  wood  is  the  usual 
fuel,  and  must  be  burned  in  pieces  of  some  length,  a  long 
square  chest  may  be  substituted,  in  which  A  is  the  cover 
opening  by  a  hinge  behind,  B  the  grate,  C  the  hearth-box 
with  its  divisions  as  in  the  other,  D  the  plan  of  the  chest,  E 
the  long  narrow  grate.  Plate,  Fig.  17.  This  I  have  not  tried, 
but  the  vase  machine  was  compleated  in  1771,  and  used  by 
me  in  London  three  winters,  and  one  afterwards  in  America, 


460       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

much  to  my  satisfaction ;  and  I  have  not  yet  thought  of  any 
improvement  it  may  be  capable  of,  though  such  may  occur 
to  others.  For  common  use,  while  in  France,  I  have  con- 
trived another  grate  for  coals,  which  has  in  part  the  same 
property  of  burning  the  smoke  and  preserving  the  red  coals 
longer  by  the  flame,  though  not  so  completely  as  in  the  vase, 
yet  sufficiently  to  be  very  useful,  which  I  shall  now  describe 
as  follows. 

A,  is  a  round  grate,  one  French  foot  in  diameter,  and  eight 
inches  deep  between  the  bars  and  the  back  (Plate,  Fig.  18) ; 
the  sides  and  back  of  plate  iron ;  the  sides  having  holes  of  half 
an  inch  diameter,  distant  three  or  four  inches  from  each  other, 
to  let  in  air  for  enlivening  the  fire.  The  back  without  holes. 
The  sides  do  not  meet  at  top  nor  at  bottom  by  eight  inches : 
That  square  is  filled  by  grates  of  small  bars  crossing  front 
to  let  in  air  below,  and  let  out  the  smoke  or  flame  above. 
The  three  middle  bars  of  the  front  grate  are  fixed,  the  upper 
and  lower  may  be  taken  out  and  put  in  at  pleasure,  when  hot, 
with  a  pair  of  pincers.  This  round  grate  turns  upon  an  axis, 
supported  by  the  crotchet  B,  the  stem  of  which  is  an  inverted 
conical  tube  five  inches  deep,  which  conies  on  as  many  inches 
upon  a  pin  that  fits  it,  and  which  is  fixed  upright  in  a  cast- 
iron  plate  Z>,  that  lies  upon  the  hearth ;  in  the  middle  of  the 
top  and  bottom  grates  are  fixed  small  upright  pieces,  E,  E, 
about  an  inch  high,  which,  as  the  whole  is  turned  on  its  axis, 
stop  it  when  the  grate  is  perpendicular.  Fig.  19  is  another 
view  of  the  same  machine. 

In  making  the  first  fire  in  a  morning  with  this  grate,  there 
is  nothing  particular  to  be  observed.  It  is  made  as  in  other 
grates,  the  coals  being  put  in  above,  after  taking  out  the  upper 
bar,  and  replacing  it  when  they  are  in.  The  round  figure  of 


1785]  DESCRIPTION  OF  A  NEW  STOVE  461 

the  fire,  when  thoroughly  kindled,  is  agreeable,  it  represents 
the  great  giver  of  warmth  to  our  system.  As  it  burns  down 
and  leaves  a  vacancy  above,  which  you  would  fill  with  fresh 
coals,  the  upper  bar  is  to  be  taken  out,  and  afterwards  re- 
placed. The  fresh  coals,  while  the  grate  continues  hi  the 
same  position,  will  throw  up  as  usual  a  body  of  thick  smoke. 
But  every  one  accustomed  to  coal  fires  in  common  grates 
must  have  observed,  that  pieces  of  fresh  coal  stuck  in  below 
among  the  red  coals  have  their  smoke  so  heated,  as  that  it 
becomes  flame  as  fast  as  it  is  produced,  which  flame  rises 
among  the  coals  and  enlivens  the  appearance  of  the  fire. 
Here  then  is  the  use  of  this  swivel  grate.  By  a  push  with  your 
tongs  or  poker,  you  turn  it  on  its  pin  till  it  faces  the  back  of 
the  chimney,  then  turn  it  over  on  its  axis  gently  till  it  again 
faces  the  room,  whereby  all  the  fresh  coals  will  be  found  under 
the  live  coals,  and  the  greater  part  of  the  smoke  arising  from 
the  fresh  coals  will,  in  its  passage  through  the  live  ones,  be 
heated  so  as  to  be  converted  into  flame.  Whence  you  have 
much  more  heat  from  them,  and  your  red  coals  are  longer 
preserved  from  consuming.  I  conceive  this  construction, 
though  not  so  complete  a  consumer  of  all  the  smoke  as  the 
vase,  yet  to  be  fitter  for  common  use,  and  very  advantageous. 
It  gives  too  a  full  sight  of  the  fire,  always  a  pleasing  object, 
which  we  have  not  in  the  other.  It  may  with  a  touch  be 
turned  more  or  less  from  any  one  of  the  company,  that  desires 
to  have  less  of  its  heat,  or  presented  full  to  one  just  come  out 
of  the  cold.  And,  supported  in  a  horizontal  position,  a  tea 
kettle  may  be  boiled  on  it. 

The  author's  description  of  his  Pennsylvania  fireplace, 
first  published  in  1 744,  having  fallen  into  the  hands  of  work- 
men in  Europe,  who  did  not,  it  seems,  well  comprehend  the 


462       THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1785 

principles  of  that  machine,  it  was  much  disfigured  in  their 
imitations  of  it;  and  one  of  its  main  intentions,  that  of  ad- 
mitting a  sufficient  quantity  of  fresh  air  warmed  in  entering 
through  the  air-box,  nearly  defeated,  by  a  pretended  improve- 
ment, in  lessening  its  passages  to  make  more  room  for  coals 
in  a  grate.  On  pretence  of  such  improvements,  they  obtained 
patents  for  the  invention,  and  for  a  while  made  great  profit 
by  the  sale,  till  the  public  became  sensible  of  that  defect  in 
the  expected  operation.  If  the  same  thing  should  be  attempted 
with  this  vase  stove,  it  will  be  well  for  the  buyer  to  examine 
thoroughly  such  pretended  improvements,  lest,  being  the  mere 
productions  of  ignorance,  they  diminish  or  defeat  the  ad- 
vantages of  the  machine,  and  produce  inconvenience  and 
disappointment. 

The  method  of  burning  smoke,  by  obliging  it  to  descend 
through  hot  coals,  may  be  of  great  use  in  heating  the  walls 
of  a  hot-house.  In  the  common  way,  the  horizontal  passages 
or  flues  that  are  made  to  go  and  return  in  those  walls,  lose  a 
great  deal  of  their  effect  when  they  come  to  be  foul  with  soot ; 
for  a  thick  blanket-like  lining  of  soot  prevents  much  of  the 
hot  air  from  touching  and  heating  the  brick  work  in  its  pas- 
sage, so  that  more  fire  must  be  made  as  the  flue  grows  fouler. 
But  by  burning  the  smoke  they  are  kept  always  clean.  The 
same  method  may  also  be  of  great  advantage  to  those  busi- 
nesses, in  which  large  coppers  or  caldrons  are  to  be  heated. 

Written  at  Sea,  1785. 


1785]  TO  JOHN  JAY  463 

1600.     TO    JOHN    JAY1 

Philadelphia,  Sept.  19,  1785. 

SIR, 

I  have  the  honour  to  acquaint  you,  that  I  left  Paris  the  i2th 
of  July,  and,  agreeable  to  the  permission  of  Congress,  am  re- 
turned to  my  own  country.  Mr.  Jefferson  had  recovered  his 
health,  and  was  much  esteemed  and  respected  there.  Our 
joint  letters  have  already  informed  you  of  our  late  proceed- 
ings, to  which  I  have  nothing  to  add,  except  that  the  last  act 
I  did,  as  Minister  Plenipotentiary  for  making  treaties,  was  to 
sign  with  him,  two  days  before  I  came  away,  the  treaty  of 
friendship  and  commer